Surge in advertising expected as OTC ban to be lifted
LONDON – A government advertising ban affecting a raft of over-the-counter medicines is set to be lifted within the next month paving the way for a surge in advertising in the consumer healthcare market.
Government body the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which regulates the sale and promotion of OTC and prescription drugs, has announced that regulations to remove the ban on consumer advertising for a number of treatments, such as those relating to rheumatic and serious skin, eye and ear conditions, have now been laid in parliament and will come into effect in three weeks' time.
The move could prove a filip for advertising and PR agencies as drugs giants hunt for agencies to market their products.
The move follows a public consultation exercise involving advertisers and healthcare professionals. It also comes as the government seeks to increase the number and range of medicines sold over the counter, the latest being last month's announcement relating to cholesterol-lowering statins.
In a statement, the MHRA said: "The MHRA has worked closely with health professionals, advertising regulators, patient groups and industry to develop guidance for advertisers on medicines in all the deregulated categories."
The MHRA has stressed the ban on advertising prescription-only medicines direct to consumers will stay in place.
Full guidance for advertisers will be published by the Proprietary Association of Great Britain, the trade body for OTC medicines and food supplements.
A spokeswoman for the Proprietary Association GB said: "Now that the regulations have been laid and new products will come into the market, obviously this will lead to a lot of opportunities for the advertising industry."
Meanwhile, EU legislation banning consumer advertising for drugs relating to a raft of other diseases and conditions, including insomnia, HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis, are also set to be lifted next year.
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