AA calls for deregulationof medicinesto allow ads

The Advertising Association is calling for the deregulation of the pharmaceutical industry, in an attempt to ease the ban on advertising prescription drugs.

The AA, led by chief executive Peta Buscombe, is in talks with Ofcom about a possible “rethink”, to allow pharmaceutical companies to talk about its products.

In the UK, only over-the-counter advertising is allowed and a combination of national and European legislation prohibits the advertising of prescription-only drugs direct to consumers.

The control over such advertising in the UK is based on the long-established system of self-regulation policed by the statutory authority set up by the Department of Health, called the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The MHRA acts on behalf of the Health Ministers to protect public health by promoting the “safe use” of pharmaceutical products.

The call to allow pharmaceutical companies to inform consumers through “some kind of advertising” follows similar calls made earlier this year by the EU Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, Gunter Verheugen.

The Commissioner proposed that prescription drugs be allowed to advertise its ingredients, applications and side effects on the internet or in press ads. His calls for a “reform” of the industry angered consumer and health professionals, who at the time said that it would be impossible to draw a line between promotional and non-promotional information.

Buscombe points out how the AA helped remove the ad ban on opticians in 1984, and how the “biggest winner of that deregulation had been the consumer”. It led to opticians stocking a much wider choice of spectacles.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here