Advertising and promotion of medicinal products
Advertising and promotion of medicinal products

The following Commercial guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Advertising and promotion of medicinal products
  • Introduction to the advertising and promotion of medicinal products
  • Regulatory framework
  • Definition of advertising
  • General rules of advertising and promotion of medicinal products
  • Advertising of OTC medicines and providing information to the public
  • Advertising to and interactions with HCPs
  • Certification of promotional material under the ABPI Code
  • Scientific service
  • Disclosure requirements

This Practice Note introduces and considers the general principles that apply to the advertising and promotion of medicinal products as well as the accompanying rules on pharmaceutical industry interactions with healthcare professionals.

Introduction to the advertising and promotion of medicinal products

In order to ensure the protection of public health, the advertising and promotion of medicinal products is highly regulated. The general rules for the advertising and promotion of medicinal products are:

  1. advertising of medicinal products in respect of which a marketing authorisation has not been granted is prohibited

  2. advertising of an authorised medicinal product must comply with the particulars listed in the Summary of product characteristics (SmPC) attached to the marketing authorisation

  3. advertising of authorised medicinal products must not be misleading and must encourage the rational use of the medicinal product, by presenting it objectively and without exaggerating its properties

  4. the promotion of prescription-only medicines (POMs) to non-healthcare professionals such as patients or the general public is prohibited.

In addition to the general rules outlined above, other activities relating to the advertising and promotion of medicinal products, such as interactions between the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare professionals (HCPs) are also regulated. Rules on interactions with HCPs cover, for example, the provision of hospitality, scientific events, free samples and prohibition of gifts or benefits in kind to HCPs.

This Practice Note introduces