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Exaggerating contraceptive efficacy: the implications of the Advertising Standards Authority action against Natural Cycles
  1. Amy Hough,
  2. Maggie Bryce
  1. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Amy Hough, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT, UK; amy.hough1{at}

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Natural Cycles has launched a hugely successful marketing campaign, incorporating targeted advertising and social media influencers. The app, which has digitised fertility awareness based methods of contraception, was approved as a medical device in Europe in 2017. After being subject to advertising by Natural Cycles ourselves, we were concerned that some of their claims were vulnerable to misinterpretation, and may have contravened the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP code). We felt uneasy about the impact of this advertising on young women’s contraceptive choices, and the potential consequences of using an app that may not be suitable for their needs or lifestyle. As a result, we filed a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in January 2018 expressing our concerns. While waiting for the ASA to respond, we wrote a piece summarising the campaign management and content and the UK regulations of such campaigns which was published in this journal in July 2018.1 On 29 August the ASA upheld our complaint …

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  • Contributors AH and MB contributed equally.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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