A leading GP software company has been rapped by advertising regulators for making ‘misleading’ and ‘unsubstantiated’ claims about a rival’s GP system.
The Advertising Standards Agency ruled that TPP, producers of SystmOne GP clinical software, had breached three advertising code rules by circulating an advert featuring ‘misleading’ claims about its competitor EMIS Web.
The ASA ruled TPP had made misleading claims about EMIS Web customers having to pay for add-ons and unsubstantiated claims about EMIS Web’s system readiness, after the advert labelled it ‘an inexperienced and unproven solution’.
The ASA said the advert ‘must not appear again in its current form’. Its ruling stated: ‘We told The Phoenix Partnership not to make comparative claims unless they held robust comparative evidence relating to their competitors. We also told them to take care to ensure that their ads did not denigrate their competitors or products.’
A TPP spokesperson, said: ‘TPP were disappointed with the ruling but of course we accept the ASA’s decision. We didn’t intend to mislead GPs, merely inform them of the options available on the clinical systems market. We will be adhering to the ASA ruling and not using this mailer again and ensuring that in future, when we do compare our products to competitors’, we provide the full range of independent evidence along with any marketing material.’
An EMIS spokesperson said: ‘EMIS welcomes this adjudication from the ASA and believes that accurate marketing information is vital to support GPs’ right to choose the IT system that best meets their needs.’