Call to Ban Cosmetic Advertising

January 25th, 2012
Call to Ban Cosmetic Advertising

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) has called for a ban on advertising cosmetic procedures and for more regulation of the industry.

This follows the recent debacle over the PIP breast implant issue, which has seen thousands of women facing a huge cost to have their breast implants replaced. While the NHS has offered to do this for free for those who previously had surgery via the NHS, private clinics are refusing to offer a free service.

However, this issue is just one of a number of issues that the BAAPS has been struggling to come to terms with. The organisation is particularly concerned with marketing gimmicks being offered as sweeteners to get work carried out. One recent example of this was a USA based voucher business, whose adverts were deemed inappropriate by the Advertising Standards Agency.

The BAAPS is also concerned that TV shows are giving people (particularly women) unrealistic expectations of what cosmetic surgery can do for them. Speaking with reporters the head of the BAPPS, Fazel Fatah said: “In no other area of surgery would one encounter Christmas vouchers and two-for-one offers – the pendulum has swung too far, and it is time for change.”

He added: “Over the last decade the BAAPS has worked tirelessly to educate the public on the many aggressive marketing gimmicks that not only trivialise surgery but endanger the patient.”

Among the proposed changes is a 6 point plan to try and root out the cowboy operate and regulate the industry more.

One other suggestion made by a Government advisor is to have an insurance scheme in place for those considering getting cosmetic surgery. This, according to Professor Sir Bruce Keogh who is currently reviewing the medical sector, should be similar to that offered by the travel industry. In this industry, travel firms pay into a fund, which then pays out to people as compensation when things go wrong.

However, the BAAPS has taken a more responsible view and wants the Government to go further. It wants a total advertising ban. The BAAPS argues that other major medical procedures such as knee replacement surgery are not allowed to be advertised, so cosmetic surgery should be treated the same way.

It seems that the Government is listening to the worries of cosmetic surgeons, something welcomed by Dr. Fatah who said: “It is an absolute joy for us at the BAAPS to hear that this year the Government will be examining the lax regulations in our sector.”

Obviously the current PIP issue will not be affected by any changes, but if the suggestions are accepted by the BAAPS and others then the plastic surgery industry will be one of the tightest regulated.


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