CCPA passes order for discontinuation of Sensodyne ads in India



The American origin toothpaste brand Sensodyne, which is now owned by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare Ltd, has come under the radar of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) for misleading advertisements and unfair trade practice.

The CCPA has now passed an order against directing the brand to discontinue the advertisements of Sensodyne products in India for flouting the norms.

Stating that the regulations governing dentists in India clearly bar endorsement of any product or drug publicly, the CCPA in a statement on Wednesday, February 9, said that, “by showing dentists practicing outside India for endorsement of its product in the advertisements broadcasted in India, ‘Sensodyne’ is attempting to circumvent the law”.

“Since dentists, who are medical professionals qualified for treating dental health issues can be seen in the advertisement appreciating, recommending and suggesting the use of the product, the advertisement gives consumers an impression that if consumers do not buy the product, they are ignoring advice of a dentist. As a result, consumer susceptibility around teeth sensitiveness is being exploited by the company to unfairly promote the sale of its product. The company is seeking to draw large number of potential consumers by giving an implication that practicing dentists of UK are recommending its product,” CCPA said in its statement.

“Advertisement of Sensodyne products in India which show endorsements by dentists practicing outside India qualify as ‘misleading advertisement’ in terms of Section 2(28) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019,” it added.

It, therefore, passed an order dated January 27 directing the company to discontinue “all advertisements for Sensodyne product in India featuring “dentists practicing outside India endorsing the product within 7 days in terms of Section 21 (1) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.”

The CCPA also directed Director General (Investigation) to conduct an investigation of the claims made by the company such as “Recommended by dentists worldwide”, “World’s No. 1 sensitivity toothpaste” and “clinically proven relief, works in 60 seconds”. It also asked the company to submit documents supporting these claims within a stipulated time period.

The CCPA said it initiated a  suo moto action against the advertisement of Sensodyne products in India featuring foreign doctors and a show-cause notice was sent to the company in March last year.

A spokesperson for GSK Consumer Healthcare told reports, “We confirm the receipt of the order from CCPA. While we are looking into it in detail, we would like to clarify that our marketing initiatives are compliant with the applicable laws and industry guidelines. We are a responsible and compliant company which is committed to the welfare of its consumers.”