(29 July) Thailand′s consumer protection agency has requested a pharmaceutical and beverage company to stop airing its misleading commercials which imply that one of its drinks would help students become doctors.
The beverage, called Peptine, is sold alongside bottled teas and other energy drinks in convenience stores. It has been marketed as an ingredient that would help improve students? ability to study harder; its target group is apparently millions of young students struggling to enter their desired universities via the national Admission exams.
According to the letter sent by Office of Consumer Protection Board (OCPB) to Osotspa, the distributor of Peptine drinks, such advertisement is unacceptable.
The letter, which is viewed by Khaosod, says the Board has received complaints from a number of concerned physicians, and asked Osotspa to halt its TV commercial immediately.
Osotspa has responded in a statement that it is willing to cooperate with OCPB′s order, saying it will cease airing its controversial commercials on this 1 August.
Peptine is certainly not alone in the extensive
utritional food market in Thailand. Even more ubiquitously advertised around the country is Brand′s, a sort of chicken soup that, according to its commercials, boost brain activities.
But Peptine came under heavy scrutiny after its airing of Want To Be Doctors TV ads which feature medical students endorsing the product.
Some medical students are also frustrated by the commercial. A representative of the Society of Medical Students of Thailand (SMST) has recently submitted a complaint to Osotspa, demanding that the company stop airing the advertisement.
Doctors are highly respected career for many Thai families, due to its (perceived) social prestige and rewarding salaries. Therefore, many parents encourage their kids to pursue medical studies.
Public records show that from 2007-2012 Thailand′s Food And Drug Administration (FDA) has fined Osotspa for violating the 1979 Food Act concerning its advertisements of Peptine drinks. The fines ranged from 2,000 baht to 40,000 baht.