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MHRA advertising ruling

One advert is withdrawn and another amended following complaints to the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority in July 2007

One advert has had to be withdrawn and another amended following complaints to the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) in July.

An advert produced by Servier for Procoralan, a therapy for patients who have a contraindication or intolerance for beta-blockers, was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on 16 June 2007. The MHRA was concerned the advertisement was misleading because it implied it was superior to beta-blockers and did not reflect SPC indication for Procoralan.

The MHRA considered the advertisement to be in breach of regulation 3A(2) and 3A(3) of the Advertising Regulations. Servier has agreed to withdraw the advertisement.

Schering-Plough's (S-P) advert for Nasonex Nasal Spray was reviewed by the MHRA following publicity over action taken by the FDA in the US. The advert was published in the BMJ on 2 June 2007 and was reviewed for compliance with the Medicines (Advertising) Regulations 1984. 

The advert contained the claim 'compared with fluticasone propionate, patients prefer alcohol-free Nasonex' which was supported by evidence only on physical properties.

S-P agreed to amend this claim to clarify that patient preference for alcohol-free Nasonex was based on scent, taste and aftertaste.

Two other cases were not upheld: Diomed Developments' Freederm Gel advert, and GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) Piriton advert.

DeWitt & Company complained to the MHRA about an advertisement to consumers for Freederm Gel produced by Diomed Developments, which was broadcast on television and radio this year. The complainant was concerned that the advertisement contained the claim, 'even helps stop spots from forming' that was not supported by any published scientific study.

However, the MHRA did not uphold the complaint as Diomed Developments provided clinical evidence to support the claim.

A healthcare professional complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about an advertisement for Piriton. This was produced by GSK and appeared in the Prima Baby and Pregnancy magazine for consumers in May 2007. The complainant objected to the claim "No other brand has the power to treat more allergies than Piriton" alleging that the word 'treat' suggests that the product can cure allergies and that this is the only action parents can take. This section of the complaint was passed to the MHRA to investigate.

The MHRA did not uphold the complaint, as the claim was not considered to imply a curative or exclusive effect.

1st August 2007

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