Poster entitled “Is silver incorporated into activated charcoal cloth likely to be tough on wound infection?”

Complaint Brought

Complaint by Johnson & Johnson Medical Ltd that the promotional use by ConvaTec Ltd of a poster entitled “Is silver incorporated into activated charcoal cloth likely to be tough on wound infection?” reporting on a laboratory study by P G Bowler et al. is in breach of clause 3.4. of The Code. Also that ConvaTec Ltd representatives using this poster would contravene clause 3.3(ii).


The Committee considered the poster was not promoting a ConvaTec product. It was a critical review of a competitor’s product and therefore not bound by clause 3.4 which relates to advertising and promotion. There was therefore no breach of clause 3.4.

The Committee did however consider that in the published poster, the conclusion "overall our in vitro observations indicate that Actisorb Plus containing a silver impregnated activated charcoal cloth layer is unlikely to rapidly kill wound bacteria in clinical practice" was neither referenced nor had any evidence been provided to support the extrapolation of the in vitro observations into this statement on the potential performance of the product in clinical practice.

The Committee considered this was an opinion for which no substantiation had been provided and therefore in breach of Clause 3.6 of The Code.

The Committee concluded that any representative of ConvaTec Ltd who used a poster containing the above sentence when promoting a ConvaTec product would contravene clause 3.3(ii).

The Committee upheld the complaint by Johnson & Johnson Medical Ltd and request ConvaTec Ltd to withdraw this sentence from the poster.

ConvaTec Ltd requested a review of this decision however the review panel considered that the new information supplied by ConvaTec Ltd did not influence the situation and therefore upheld the opinion of the original panel.

Corrective Action

Subsequent to receiving these opinions, ConvaTec Ltd agreed to remove the offending sentence from the poster.


Complaint adjudicated on 21 November 2001

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