PAGB Consumer Code for Medicines


PAGB Consumer Code for Medicines (including traditional herbal medicines)

Categories: OTC medicines

Access: open access

Annex: advertising examples

About this advertising code

The PAGB Consumer Code for Medicines applies to advertising materials aimed at consumers and people who may legitimately purchase medicines on behalf of another consumer (e.g. parents who purchase medicines on behalf of their children). The Code covers all branded promotional materials over which the company has editorial control.

The Consumer Code has its origins in the world’s first ever self-regulatory advertising code of practice, which was published by PAGB in 1936. OTC medicines advertising remains self-regulated even today, and PAGB continues to provide a pre-publication approval system for OTC medicines advertising to help ensure that OTC medicines advertising complies with all applicable codes and laws. We assess members’ copy against the Code and apply a stamp of approval to show that it meets the provisions in the Code, or advice and support to enable members to achieve that approval.

Importantly, the PAGB Consumer Code for Medicines is applied in spirit as well as in principle. That means that we consider the interpretation of the advertising or promotional material by the consumer, including if they only briefly or partially view it.

It is member companies’ responsibility to ensure that all applicable legal requirements and all requirements of the relevant self-regulatory codes of practice are complied with. We recommended that all members provide their brand and marketing teams, and advertising agencies, with copies of the PAGB Medicines Advertising Codes and nominate someone to be responsible for ensuring compliance.

PAGB runs regular OTC medicines advertising workshops to support members and non members to understand what they need to consider when advertising OTC medicines and how to  apply the principles of the PAGB Consumer Code for Medicines and PAGB Professional Code for Medicines.

How do I submit copy to PAGB?

PAGB members should submit copy for review via the inbox. Copy is dealt with in the order it is received and is assigned a case number. We aim to return copy within two days for standard copy and five days for more complex copy and websites. Check out our Top Tips for submitting copy to help ensure a smooth process.

The copy approval service is only available to PAGB members, and to authorised associate members working with them.  Not a member of PAGB? Find out more about membership here or, if you’d like to discuss how we can support you on a consultancy basis, contact

For general queries about OTC medicines advertising, contact



Regulatory Resources

Download PAGB’s Consumer Code for Medicines

PAGB Consumer Code for Medicines (including Traditional Herbal Remedies)

Annex: advertising examples


Further PAGB guidance on OTC medicines advertising is available here. (PAGB members only).

PAGB’s Codes of Advertising Practice, guidelines and additional guidance for OTC medicines, self care medical devices and food supplements are available here.  Log in to the members’ area to access the full range of guidance. For more information, contact

Not a member of PAGB? Find out more about membership here

For advertising advice, contact

Back to Codes and Guidance



Updated 2019

For more information about this guidance, please contact