Use of the term “Dr”: PhD

Jun 1st '23

Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) understands that it is likely to be acceptable for marketers who possess a relevant PhD or doctorate (of sufficient length and intensity) to call themselves “Dr” provided they use the suffix “PhD” to clarify the type of qualification they hold.


Marketers wanting to refer to themselves as “Dr”, “a doctor” or similar, should take care not to imply that they hold a general medical qualification if they do not. The need for clarity is greatest in the context of health-related claims and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has previously taken a tough line on marketers who call themselves ‘Dr’.


It is likely that in the context of health related claims, the ASA would expect advertisers who use the “Dr” title to immediately qualify it with a statement making clear that they do not hold a general medical qualification.


Ultimately, the safest and simplest way to avoid confusing consumers when making health-related claims is to not use a “Dr” title if marketers do not hold a general medical qualification.


Source: CAP


Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the ASA. CAP’s AdviceOnline entries provide guidance on interpreting the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing.


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