1.7 Advertising case studies

A4 Professional journal advertisement A

1. Essential information

Comment: This advertisement is over 420cm². In most cases for OTC medicines you will be required to include the short form essential information. For innovative P products in advertisements larger than 420cm² the long form essential information is required (Rule 41). For short form essential information the following should be considered:

2. New Unique Formulation

Comment: The formulation has been available in the UK for more than one year. Therefore, the claim needs to be amended to ‘New to the PAGB range’, or similar. (Rule 12)
Where advertising claims that a product is ‘unique’, it must make clear what aspect of the product is unique.

3. Dual action – helps to soothe colds

Comment: This claim is misleading. Section 5.1 of the SmPC indicates that the product has one mode of action. Looking at section 4.1 of the SmPC, it is clear that product is not indicated to treat colds. (Rules 3 and 4)

4. Faster relief

Comment: This is a hanging comparison. The claim could be changed to ‘fast relief’ if the advertiser has evidence that the product relieves symptoms within 30 minutes. (Rule 23). The claim would need to be referenced as the speed of action is not stated on the SmPC. (Rule 27)

5. Better than Brand X

Comment: The PAGB Professional Code for Medicines does not prohibit advertisers from mentioning a competitor’s brand name. However, the term ‘better than’ is unfairly denigrating to the competitor product. (Rules 21 and 22) If the claim is amended to something more suitable, it will need to be referenced. (Rule 27)

6. Recently approved by the Department of Health

Comment: MHRA have advised that this wording would not be acceptable. The claim could be changed to ‘Authorised by the Department of Health’. (Rule 7)

7. Natural

Comment: In order to make this claim, all of the actives and excipients would need to be natural. Looking at sections 2 and 6.1 of the SmPC, we can see that the claim is not supportable. (Rule 19)

8. Nothing lasts longer

Comment: Top parity claims are only acceptable when supported by evidence (Rule 24). Under the PAGB Professional Code for Medicines, product claims must be referenced, unless the information appears on the SmPC. (Rule 27)

9. No 1

Comment: This claim must be supported by three months of recent sales data and needs to be referenced (Rules 15 and 29). In addition, the claim needs to be reworded to clarify that it relates to sales data. (Rule 15)

10. Enter our competition to win a training course on children’s medicines worth £250. See www.pagbcomp.com for details.

Comment: Under the PAGB Professional Code for Medicines, prize promotions are only acceptable if the value does not exceed a maximum of £130. (Rule 32) The terms and conditions must also be stated.

A4 Professional Journal Advertisement A

A5 Professional journal advertisement A

1. Essential information

Comment: This advertisement is less than 420cm² and is printed in a bound journal. Therefore, it may include the short form essential information (Rule 41), rather than the long form essential information (Rule 41). It must also comply with guidance on prominence and legibility. (Rule 42)

The following should be considered:

2. Helps with all types of cough

Comment: Section 4.1 of the SmPC sates that the product is indicated for dry, tickly cough only . (Rules 3 and 4)

3. Guaranteed to soothe tickly cough in children of all ages

Comment: There is no specific prohibition on the use of guarantees in advertising to professionals and trade. However, claims must not be misleading and should reflect the degree of change that an average user could expect. (Rule 4) ‘Children of all ages’ is misleading as the product is indicated for children of 3 months and over. (Rules 3 and 4)

4. No 1 best-selling medicine

Comment: This claim must be supported by three months of most recent sales data and needs to be referenced. (Rules 15 and 29)

5. Can work in 10 minutes

Comment: The wording of this claim is not ideal as it may imply that the product can result in a cessation of symptoms in ten minutes. ‘Can relieve symptoms in 10 minutes’ would be preferable, as long as the advertiser has evidence to support the claim. The claim would need to be referenced as this information is not stated in the SmPC. (Rules 10 and 27)

6. PAGB Children’s Tickly Cough is sponsoring Jones’ Awards Dinner in November.

Comment: Brands are not permitted to sponsor social events such as award dinners. It would, however, be acceptable for the pharmaceutical company to sponsor the event. (Rule 34)

7. Call 0800 123 456 for free samples

Comment: Samples may be provided to persons qualified to prescribe in certain circumstances. It is not acceptable to promote the availability of free samples. (Rule 36)

8. ‘Always read the label.’

This warning is not required in advertising aimed at persons qualified to prescribe or supply.

Consumer A4 Press Advertisement

A5 Professional Journal Advertisement B

1. Essential information

Comment: This advertisement is less than 420cm² and is printed in a bound journal. Therefore, it may include the short form essential information rather than the long form essential information (Rule 41). It must also comply with guidance on prominence and legibility. (Rule 42) The following should be considered:

2. New Flavour

Comment: This claim is acceptable as long as the flavour has only been available for less than one year. (Rule 12)

3. This product is about to be licensed and will soon be available to order

Comment: It is not acceptable to advertise a product before the Marketing Authorisation is granted. (Rule 2)

4. No 1 best-selling children’s cough syrup

Comment: This claim must be supported by three months of most recent sales data and needs to be referenced. (Rules 15 and 29)

5. Can get to work in 10 minutes

Comment: This claim must be supported by evidence. If the advertiser has evidence that the product offers relief in 10 minutes, the claim would be acceptable. In cases where the claim is based on absorption data, the advertiser would need to add ‘*refers to absorption data’ or similar. The claim needs to be referenced. (Rules 10 and 27)

A5 Professional Journal Advertisement B

A5 Professional journal advertisement C

1. Essential information

This advertisement does not contain any product claims (other than those appearing on the pack shot) and hence the essential information is not required. (Rule 41)

Customer Flyer