Contraception app Natural Cycles’ Facebook ad banned for being misleading

Aug. 30, 2018

Natural Cycles, a Swedish startup which touts its body temperature-based algorithmic method for tracking individual fertility as an effective alternative to hormonal birth control, has been wrapped by the U.K. advertising regulator which upheld three complaints that an advert the company ran last year via Facebook’s platform was misleading.

The regulator has banned Natural Cycles from running the advert again, and warned it against exaggerating the effectiveness of its product.

The ad had stated that “Natural Cycles is a highly accurate, certified, contraceptive app that adapts to every woman’s unique menstrual cycle. Sign up to get to know your body and prevent pregnancies naturally”, and in a video below the text it had also stated: “Natural Cycles officially offers a new, clinically tested alternative to birth control methods”.

The company has leaned heavily on social media marketing to target its ‘digital contraception’ app at young women.

“We told Natural Cycles Nordic AB Sweden not to state or imply that the app was a highly accurate method of contraception and to take care not to exaggerate the efficacy of the app in preventing pregnancies,” said the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) handing down its decision.

While Natural Cycles gained EU certification for its app as a contraceptive in February 2017, and most recently FDA clearance for marketing the app as a contraception in the U.S. (with the regulator granting its De Novo classification request this month), those regulatory clearances come with plenty of caveats about the complexity of the product.

The FDA, for example, warns that: “Users must be aware that even with consistent use of the device, there is still a possibility of unintended pregnancy.”

The company is under investigation in Sweden by the medical regulator after a local hospital reported a number of unwanted pregnancies among users of the app. A spokesperson for the Medical Products Agency told us that it has finalized its investigation and plans to publish the findings next week.

Despite all that, Natural Cycles’ website bills its product as “effective contraception”, claiming the app is “93% effective under typical use” and making the further (and confusingly worded) claim that: “With using the app perfectly, i.e. if you never have unprotected intercourse on red days, Natural Cycles is 99% effective, which means 1 woman out of 100 get pregnant during one year of use.”

TechCrunch has the full story

Sponsored Recommendations

A Cyber Shield for Healthcare: Exploring HHS's $1.3 Billion Security Initiative

Unlock the Future of Healthcare Cybersecurity with Erik Decker, Co-Chair of the HHS 405(d) workgroup! Don't miss this opportunity to gain invaluable knowledge from a seasoned ...

Enhancing Remote Radiology: How Zero Trust Access Revolutionizes Healthcare Connectivity

This content details how a cloud-enabled zero trust architecture ensures high performance, compliance, and scalability, overcoming the limitations of traditional VPN solutions...

Spotlight on Artificial Intelligence

Unlock the potential of AI in our latest series. Discover how AI is revolutionizing clinical decision support, improving workflow efficiency, and transforming medical documentation...

Beyond the VPN: Zero Trust Access for a Healthcare Hybrid Work Environment

This whitepaper explores how a cloud-enabled zero trust architecture ensures secure, least privileged access to applications, meeting regulatory requirements and enhancing user...