Contributed By Jones Day
Difference Between Advertising and Other Information
Advertising and other information are distinguished by the above definition of 'advertising'. First, advertising must be clearly intended to induce customers to make purchases. This requirement might be satisfied, for example, by an advertisement that lists a phone number to call to buy certain goods, suggesting a clear intention to induce customers to make purchases. However, it is not likely that a book in a medical library describing certain drugs and targeted at researchers would have such an intention.
As to the second requirement – the clear expression of product names – it may be met even in cases where particular product names are not mentioned; this would be the case if the general public could recognise particular medicines based on the pictures or descriptions of those medicines shown in the advertisement.
Finally, the third requirement (the ability to be seen by the general public) would not be likely to be satisfied if the relevant information is only provided to patients in a hospital, since the narrow scope of its distribution would limit the potential for the information to reach the general public.
As long as disease-awareness campaigns are meant to inform the public in a general way about certain diseases and do not name specific medicines, they are not considered 'advertising' under the PMD Act. However, if the content of a disease-awareness campaign satisfies the three parts of the definition of advertising set out above, that disease awareness campaign will be subject to the advertising regulations under the PMD Act and the Standards.
The risk that a disease-awareness campaign is considered advertising prohibited under the PMD Act is high in the case of a disease-awareness campaign publicising prescription-only medicines to the general public, because the advertising of prescription-only medicines to the general public is prohibited under the PMD Act. In this regard, the JPMA Code of Practice suggests that the content of disease education activities targeting ordinary citizens and patients be closely inspected from the planning stages so that they will not be considered prohibited advertising.
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