This code applies to advertising involving over-the-counter medicines that is aimed wholly or mainly at persons qualified to prescribe or supply and appropriate administrative staff, where the object of the advertising is to influence sales and/or recommendations to the general public.
N.B. Advertising intended to influence the writing of prescriptions is covered by the ABPI Code of Practice, not by this code (See 1.3.1).
Advertising under the Professional Code is aimed at Persons Qualified to Prescribe or Supply (PQPS), and can be regarded as any advertisement primarily intended to promote sale or recommendation of an OTC medicine to a consumer/patient.
The PAGB Professional Code for Medicines does not cover the advertising of over-the-counter medicines aimed wholly or mainly at the public. This is covered by the PAGB Consumer Code.
A full definition of Persons Qualified to Prescribe or Supply can be found in section 6.2 of the MHRA Blue Guide which is available online here – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/blue-guide-advertising-and-promoting-medicines
Persons qualified to prescribe or supply includes those persons who are legally entitled to choose which medicinal product is supplied in a particular outlet, such as buyers. It is not, however, interpreted as including wholesale dealers.
The PAGB Professional Code for Medicines applies to advertising materials over which members have editorial control. Part 14 of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 lists a number of promotional activities, such as advertisements with no product claims (please refer to section 2.1 for a definition of ‘product claims’) and factual and informative announcements, that are not regarded as advertising under that regulation. These activities are listed in section 1.3 and do not fall under the PAGB Professional Code for Medicines.
Advertising is taken to include: