UNVEILING DECEPTIVE CLAIMS: A CROSS-SECTIONAL OBSERVATIONAL ASSESSMENT OF DIETARY SUPPLEMENT ADVERTISEMENTS FROM THREE NEWS CHANNELS IN ROMANIA

Ingrid NĂDĂȘAN 1, Adél PETHŐ 1, Agnos Milian HERȚELIU 2, Valentin NĂDĂȘAN 1
1 George Emil Palade University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Science and Technology of Targu Mures, Romania
2 Department of Communication, National Institute of Statistics, Bucharest, Romania

Dietary supplements can provide the necessary nutrients for groups of people who need them, but their use comes with a few risks, such as excessive or unwarranted utilization, side effects, unwanted interactions, and the promotion of unhealthy behaviors or neglecting professional health care. This cross-sectional study analyzed 49 TV advertisements on three major news channels in Romania regarding their compliance with European and national laws concerning the advertisement of dietary supplements. A list of criteria was extracted from the current laws in Romania and was used to check the video promotional materials’ compliance systematically. Despite more than half of the commercials complying with the technical criteria, it was found that a concerning amount of advertisements targeted people with various or specific pathologies, while a third of the ads included non-compliant words or representations associated with pathologies and medical professionals or institutions. As a practical implication, the study suggests a need for more consistent and closer surveillance of dietary supplement commercials broadcasted in the Romanian media.