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ASA bans two misleading Bupa Insurance cancer ads

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has banned two Bupa Insurance ads which appeared on TV and video on demand services for implying it granted patients a higher chance of surviving cancer.

Two Bupa ads which featured a testimonial voice-over claiming the service “probably saved my life” received 25 complaints for implying Bupa granted patients a greater chance of cancer survival.

The voiceover stated: “Growing up my family always had Bupa health insurance. It probably saved my life.

“At 27 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Straight away a specialist Bupa team were there for me. They found a hospital to be near mum and dad.”

Concluding: “The consultant suggested Tomotherapy, an advanced treatment. That was seven years ago and Bupa's still here for me today.”

The ASA ruling read: “Although we acknowledged the ad's references to the benefits of the services the advertiser offered, we considered that they were made in conjunction with the customer's prominent claim ‘It probably saved my life’.

“They suggested that Bupa's services for cancer patients were superior in those respects to those offered by the NHS or other providers, and that cancer patients who received private healthcare through BUPA consequentially had a better chance of survival.

“We concluded that the ad implied that there was a higher chance of survival for cancer patients who received treatment through the advertiser and because that was not the case, the ad was likely to mislead consumers."

The ASA found that the ads were misleading, exaggerated the benefits of the treatment and made comparisons with identifiable competitors.

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