(2004; 109 pages)
3.3 Regulatory mechanisms for information and advertisements
In addition to regulations for TM/CAM therapies, there is also a need for regulations controlling TM/CAM-related information and advertisements. Such regulations can be issued either by national authorities, in the form of statutory controls, or by local organizations such as professional organizations, in the form of voluntary controls (33). These kind of regulations, such as those recommended by the World Health Medication Industry (40), may control the reliability and ethical content of the information, prevent false health claims and misleading advertisements,1 and ensure the appropriate labelling of TM/CAM products (both medication- and procedure-based). Ideally, legal mechanisms should be established to control both non-commercial and commercial information in advertising and on product packages. These could involve the issuing of permits for advertisements and information, based on evaluation of the contents. Consumers also need to be reminded that information on the Internet is not easily controlled or regulated and that special attention is needed when evaluating web-based information as compared to printed information (see Annexes II and III). Some countries have special regulations controlling the publication of health information on the Internet.
1 False health claims are those that are not supported by adequate evidence and misleading advertisements are ones that may lead the consumer to act unreasonably.