Regulator to clamp down on medicine ads

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is getting ready to clamp down on companies that cut corners in pharmaceutical advertising.

The MHRA is concerned that some companies are overstepping the mark when promoting new products and exaggerating the benefits of medicines to boost sales.

New guidelines published yesterday (Tuesday) say that the new policy will be designed to keep ads and promotions for over-the-counter medicines “within the spirit as well as the letter of the law”. The MHRA adds that it will name and shame companies on its website if they fall foul of the regulations.

Retailer Tesco recently withdrew a two-for-one offer on pain killers after complaints to the MHRA that the offer could lead to unnecessary purchases of medicines and undermine pack size restrictions.

The agency has also warned that pharmaceutical companies that regularly breach the guidelines will be subject to a review of their whole advertising portfolio to ensure that it meets the appropriate standards.

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