Dilution of OTC Drug Ad Ban Gives Scope for UK Agencies

14 June 2004

UK advertising agencies are rubbing their hands in anticipation of the lifting in three weeks time of a government advertising ban on another tranche over-the-counter drugs.

The ad ban on prescription-only medicines remains in force, but the further lifting of ad restrictions on available OTC drugs provides ample new opportunities for ad agencies.

The government's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, responsible for controlling promotions and sales both of OTC and prescription drugs, has "worked closely with health professionals, advertising regulators, patient groups and [the pharma] industry to develop guidance for advertisers on medicines in all the deregulated categories".

And if there is still any doubt in advertisers' minds, the Proprietary Association of Great Britain is to publish extra guidelines for the promotion of OTC drugs and food supplements.

The move precedes the lifting of a European Union ban next year on advertising of medicines for conditions such as HIV, tuberculosis and insomnia.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff