The Centre, on Thursday, released additional guidelines for influencers, celebrities, and virtual influencers who create content related to health and wellness. This is being done to prevent misleading endorsements and unsubstantiated claims of health and wellness products made by influencers on social media platforms.

Under these guidelines, certified medical practitioners and health & fitness experts, when sharing information, promoting products or services or making any health-related claims, will need to disclose that they are certified health/fitness expert and medical practitioner. Similarly, celebs and influencers, who present themselves as health experts or medical practioners when promoting health- and wellness-related products, must provide “clear disclaimer”.

This disclosure or disclaimer should be displayed during endorsements, promotions, or at any instance of making health-related assertions.

The government also said that these disclosure or disclaimer is necessary when talking or making claims regarding health advantages including those derived from food items & nutraceuticals, disease prevention, treatment or cure, medical conditions, recovery methodologies or immunity boosting among oterhs.

“Celebrities, influencers and virtual influencers presenting themselves as health experts or medical practitioners, when sharing information, promoting products or services or making any health-related claims, must provide clear disclaimers, ensuring the audience understands that their endorsements should not be seen as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment,” the guidelines added.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs said these guidelines have been framed in consultation with Health Ministry, FSSAI, and ASCI. “The additional guidelines aim to deal with misleading advertisements, unsubstantiated claims, and ensure transparency in health and wellness endorsements,” it added.

‘To attract penalty’

“The DoCA will actively monitor and enforce these guidelines. Violations may lead to penalties under the Consumer Protection Act 2019 and other relevant provisions of the law,” it added.