Clause 9 - High Standards, Format, Suitability and Causing Offence, Sponsorship

9.1 High standards must be maintained at all times.

  • Clauses 9.1 and 9.2 Suitability and Taste

    The special nature of medicines and the professional audience to which the material is directed require that the standards set for the promotion of medicines are higher than those which might be acceptable for general commodity advertising.

    It follows therefore that certain types, styles and methods of promotion, even where they might be acceptable for the promotion of products other than medicines, are unacceptable. These include:

    • the display of naked or partially naked people for the purpose of attracting attention to the material or the use of sexual imagery for that purpose
    • ‘teaser’ advertising whereby promotional material is intended to ‘tease’ the recipient by eliciting an interest in something which will be following or will be available at a later date without providing any actual information about it
    • the use of inappropriate language abbreviations or emoticons particularly in digital communications
    • the provision of private prescription forms preprinted with the name of a medicine.
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AUTH/3246/9/19 and AUTH/3247/9/19 - Complainant v Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb Breach: 2, 4.1, 9.1, 7.2, 7.4 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 27 September 2019 Completed: 13 May 2020 AUTH/3215/6/19 and AUTH/3216/6/19 - GP v Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb Breach: 2, 3.2, 7.2, 7.3, 9.1 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 21 June 2019 Completed: 13 May 2020 AUTH/3204/6/19 - Anonymous pharmaceutical employee v GlaxoSmithKline No breach: 2, 9.1, 26.1, 26.2 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 07 June 2019 Completed: 27 April 2020 AUTH/3273/10/19 - Complainant v Gedeon Richter Breach: 4.3, 9.1 No breach: 2, 12.1, 26.1, 28.1 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 28 October 2019 Completed: 24 April 2020 AUTH/3203/6/19 - Anonymous employee v Otsuka Europe Breach: 9.1, 26.1, 26.2, 28.1 No breach: 2, 9.1, 26.2 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 07 June 2019 Completed: 23 April 2020 AUTH/3226/7/19 - Complainant v Teva Breach: 2, 3.2, 7.2, 9.1 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 16 July 2019 Completed: 07 April 2020 AUTH/3287/12/19 - Employee v UCB Breach: 3.1, 14.1, 9.1 No breach: 2, 4.1, 4.9, 4.10, 26.1, 26.2 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 13 December 2019 Completed: 27 March 2020 AUTH/3291/12/19 - Aesthetics Health Professional v Allergan Breach: 2, 9.1, 26.1 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 17 December 2019 Completed: 16 March 2020 AUTH/3245/9/19 - Anonymous GP (assisted by an Ex Employee) v Novo Nordisk Breach: 7.2, 9.1 No breach: 2, 3.2, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.10, 8.1, 9.1, 15.2, 15.9 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 23 September 2019 Completed: 11 March 2020 AUTH/3283/11/19 and AUTH/3284/11/19 - CCG Senior Pharmacist v Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer Breach: 2, 7.2, 8.1, 15.2 No breach: 7.3, 9.1 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 13 November 2019 Completed: 09 March 2020 AUTH/3240/8/19 - Voluntary admission from Colonis Breach: 2, 4.1, 9.1 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 15 August 2019 Completed: 26 February 2020 AUTH/3274/10/19 - Complainant v Diurnal Breach: 3.1, 4.1, 4.3, 9.1, 2 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 24 October 2019 Completed: 18 February 2020 AUTH/3265/10/19 - Complainant v Bracco Breach: 4.1, 9.1, 16.3 No breach: 16.1 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 16 October 2019 Completed: 13 February 2020 AUTH/3264/10/19 - Anonymous v Merz Breach: 9.1, 15.2 No breach: 2, 3.1, 9.1, 15.2 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 24 October 2019 Completed: 13 February 2020 AUTH/3248/9/19 - Voluntary admission by AstraZeneca Breach: 3.2, 9.1, 14.3, 26.1 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 30 September 2019 Completed: 07 February 2020 AUTH/3252/10/19 - Complainant v Lilly Breach: 9.1, 26.1, 28.1 No breach: 2 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 07 October 2019 Completed: 07 February 2020 AUTH/3282/11/19 - ViiV/Director v Gilead Breach: 2, 9.1, 29 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 21 November 2019 Completed: 29 January 2020 AUTH/3236/8/19 - Health professional v Merck Sharp & Dohme Breach: 2, 7.2, 9.1, 24.1 No breach: 2, 9.1, 29 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 14 August 2019 Completed: 20 January 2020 AUTH/3239/8/19 - Pharmacist v Colonis Breach: 2, 3.2, 9.1 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 13 August 2019 Completed: 20 December 2019 AUTH/3221/6/19 - Medicines information pharmacist v Colonis Breach: 7.2, 7.4, 9.1 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 29 June 2019 Completed: 20 December 2019 AUTH/3198/5/19 - Complainant v Novo Nordisk Breach: 14.1, 15.2 No breach: 2, 3.2, 7.2, 7.4, 9.1 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 07 May 2019 Completed: 19 December 2019 AUTH/3257/10/19 - Voluntary admission by GlaxoSmithKline Breach: 4.1, 9.1 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 09 October 2019 Completed: 17 December 2019 AUTH/3229/7/19 - Complainant v GlaxoSmithKline Breach: 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.10, 9.1 No breach: 3.2 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 26 July 2019 Completed: 09 December 2019 AUTH/3232/7/19 AND AUTH/3233/7/19 - Member of the public v Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim No breach: 9.1, 26.1 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 27 July 2019 Completed: 05 December 2019 AUTH/3243/9/19 - Ex-Employee v Allergen No breach: 2, 9.1, 18.1 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 29 July 2019 Completed: 22 November 2019 AUTH/3207/6/19 - Anonymous v Santen No breach: 2, 9.1, 11.1, 18.1, 22.1, 23.1 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 19 June 2019 Completed: 15 November 2019 AUTH/3172/3/19 - Anonymous v Sandoz No breach: 2, 9.1, 12.1, 15.2, 18.1 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 18 March 2019 Completed: 18 September 2019 AUTH/3208/6/19 - Member of the public v Merz Breach: 9.1, 15.2, 26.1 No breach: 2 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 19 June 2019 Completed: 12 September 2019 AUTH/3210/6/19 - Patient v GlaxoSmithKline No breach: 2, 9.1, 14.5 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 20 June 2019 Completed: 06 September 2019 AUTH/3187/5/19 - Anonymous representative v Cipla No breach: 2, 3.2, 9.1, 16.3, 19.2 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 09 May 2019 Completed: 20 August 2019 AUTH/3186/5/19 - Anonymous v Almirall No breach: 2, 9.1, 22.1 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 01 May 2019 Completed: 20 August 2019 AUTH/3161/2/19 - Employee v Leo Pharma No breach: 2, 9.1, 9.9, 14.1, 15.6, 15.9, 19.1, 19.2 Applicable Code: 2016 Received: 19 February 2019 Completed: 18 June 2019 AUTH/3148/1/19 - Complainant v GlaxoSmithKline Breach: 4.3 No breach: 9.1 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 09 January 2019 Completed: 20 May 2019 AUTH/3149/1/19 - Anonymous Complainant v Endo Ventures Breach: 3.2, 9.1 Applicable Code: 2016 Received: 09 January 2019 Completed: 30 April 2019 AUTH/3056/8/18 - Ex-representative vs GlaxoSmithKline – Conduct of GlaxoSmithKline Breach: 3.2, 7.2, 9.1 Applicable Code: 2016 Received: 31 July 2018 Completed: 12 March 2019 AUTH/3058/8/18 - Pharmacists v Proveca Letter regarding the supply of unlicensed and off-label glycopyrronium Breach: 9.1, 2 Applicable Code: 2016 Received: 21 September 2018 Completed: 11 December 2018 AUTH/3035/4/18 - Health Professional v Bayer Promotion of Xarelto Breach: 2, 9.1, 14.1, 26.1, 26.2 Applicable Code: 2016 Received: 26 April 2018 Completed: 08 October 2018 AUTH/3039/5/18 - Tillotts v Dr Falk Promotion of Budenofalk Breach: 9.1 Applicable Code: 2016 Received: 11 May 2018 Completed: 13 July 2018 AUTH/2945/3/17 - Community Pharmacist v GlaxoSmithKline Resource booklet for Pharmacists No breach: 9.1 Applicable Code: 2016 Received: 13 March 2017 Completed: 28 June 2017 AUTH/2834/4/16 - Takeda v Amdipharm Mercury Promotion of Lutrate Breach: 9.1 Applicable Code: 2016 Received: 08 April 2016 Completed: 03 June 2016 AUTH/3285/12/19 - Ex-Employee v Daiichi-Sankyo Breach: 2, 9.1, 24.1, 24.4, 24.6, 24.7, 24.9 No breach: 24.10 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 30 November 2019 Completed: Interim case report AUTH/3224/7/19 - Pharmacosmos v Vifor Breach: 2, 7.2, 7.3, 8.1, 9.1 Applicable Code: 2019 Received: 14 July 2019 Completed: Interim case report

9.2 All material and activities must recognise the special nature of medicines and the professional standing of the audience to which they are directed and must not be likely to cause offence.

9.4 Promotional material must not imitate the devices, copy, slogans or general layout adopted by other companies in a way that is likely to mislead or confuse.

9.5 Promotional material must not include any reference to the Commission on Human Medicines, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency or the licensing authority, unless this is specifically required by the licensing authority.

  • Clause 9.5 MHRA Drug Safety Update

    Where factual safety information given in promotional material is based on advice in the MHRA Drug Safety Update, the information can be referenced to that publication.

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9.6 Reproductions of official documents must not be used for promotional purposes unless permission has been given in writing by the appropriate body.

9.8 Postcards, other exposed mailings, envelopes or wrappers must not carry matter which might be regarded as advertising to the public, contrary to Clause 26.1.

  • Clause 9.8 Reply Paid Cards

    Reply paid cards which are intended to be returned to companies through the post and which relate to a prescription only medicine should not bear both the name of the medicine and information as to its usage but may bear one or the other.

9.9 The telephone, text messages, email, telemessages, facsimile, automated calling systems and other electronic data communications must not be used for promotional purposes, except with the prior permission of the recipient.

  • Clause 9.9 Unsubscribing to emails

    Where permission to use emails for promotional purposes has been given by a recipient, each email sent should inform the recipient as to how to unsubscribe to them.

  • Clause 9.9 Responding to emails

    An unsolicited enquiry received by email or an unsolicited enquiry received by post which includes an email address can be responded to by email without specific permission, consent to do so being implied in such circumstances. There is no need to inform recipients as to how to unsubscribe to an email response to an enquiry.

  • Clause 9.9 Remote Detailing

    When promotion is carried out remotely, such as by telephone call, web chat or other online calls, prior permission from the recipient must be obtained in advance or at the start of the contact or call. In setting up the contact or call, full details must be given of the company the caller will represent, their role and the purpose of the call. Arrangements made to discuss a specific product should be adhered to.

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9.10 Material relating to medicines and their uses, whether promotional or not, and information relating to human health or diseases which is sponsored by a pharmaceutical company must clearly indicate that it has been sponsored by that company.

The only exception to this is market research material which need not reveal the name of the company involved but must state that it is sponsored by a pharmaceutical company.

  • Clause 9.10 Declaration of Sponsorship

    The declaration of sponsorship must be sufficiently prominent to ensure that readers of sponsored material are aware of it at the outset. The wording of the declaration must be unambiguous so that readers will immediately understand the extent of the company’s involvement and influence over the material. This is particularly important when companies are involved in the production of material which is circulated by an otherwise wholly independent party, such as supplements to health professional journals.

  • Clause 9.10 Market Research

    Where market research is carried out by an agency on behalf of a pharmaceutical company, the agency must reveal the name of its client to the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority when the Authority requests it to do so. When commissioning market research, a company must take steps to ensure that its identity would be so made known to the Authority should a request for that information be made.