The Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board (PAAB) has released a revised version of its Code of Advertising Acceptance. This new version is available on the PAAB website and will be effective as of July 1, 2013.
PAAB is an independent agency, recognized by Health Canada, which reviews and pre-clears all forms of drug product advertising (prescription, non-prescription, biologics and natural health products) provided or directed to healthcare professionals. PAAB also gives advisory opinions on direct-to-patient educational communications on diseases that can be treated with prescription drugs.
All communications are required to present fair balance in the advertisement itself. However, the revised Code permits an advertisement to include a reference to a URL or to link to the Health Canada–approved Terms of Market Authorization, rather than attaching a copy of the product’s prescribing information, which is the current practice. A linked webpage does not need to be reviewed provided that the webpage does not contain additional promotional text or images; however, a product or corporate logo, without a tag line, is permissible.
The revised Code clarifies that exemption from pre-clearance requirements is available only for materials containing disease information that do not mention any treatment by name, class or category and that are not linked to product advertising in any way.
PAAB has indicated that there will be a transition period ending on July 1, 2014, for all promotional materials in circulation to comply with the new version of the Code. Training programs and question-and-answer sessions are planned to assist the industry in the implementation and interpretation of the new Code. PAAB is also developing guidance documents, which are scheduled to be released sometime in 2013.