ME Association blog post, by Dr Charles Shepherd, 11 April 2018: Advertising Standards Uphold Complaint Against Gupta Programme for ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia

A wide range of speculative and unsubstantiated investigations and treatments for ME/CFS are available in the alternative and private medical sectors, and the MEA receives very mixed feedback on these approach to both assessment and management

In the case of advertising and promotional material, we have major concerns about the way in which some of these costly investigations and treatments are being promoted to people with ME/CFS.

We do therefore, where appropriate, report our concerns to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), and other regulatory authorities.

In relation to the Gupta Programme, this is not a form of treatment that we recommend, and we welcome the fact that the ASA has taken this action in relation to the way it is being advertised to the general public.

Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) Ruling

Harley Street Solutions Ltd t/a Gupta Amygdala Retraining

11th April 2018

Background:

Summary of council decision: Three issues were investigated, all of which were Upheld.

Ad description:

A website for the Gupta Programme, www.guptaprogramme.com, seen on 27 September 2017, advertised a treatment programme developed by Ashok Gupta for a range of conditions, through a “FREE Video Course on how to Recover”, followed by attending “In-Person Weekend Workshops” training, a “Home Study DVD Course”, and/or group “Coaching Webinars”.

The website included text stating the programme was “a powerful revolutionary new treatment” with “incredible healing effects” for illnesses such as “Fibromyalgia”, “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or ME” and “Electrical Sensitivities”.

It also said, “… these conditions are caused by abnormalities in the brain, especially a brain structure called the ‘Insula’ & the ‘Amygdala’” and the programme “is a way of re-wiring the brain’s responses to bring back health and vitality”.

The website included various “Success Stories”, offered “a one-year money back guarantee” and included a “Disclaimer” stating “this website is purely for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical diagnosis, treatment or advice”.

Issue

The complainant challenged whether the claims that the Gupta Programme could treat the following conditions were misleading and could be substantiated:

  1. “Fibromyalgia”;
  2. “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or ME”; and
  3. “Electrical Sensitivities”

Read the full ASA response

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