From 1 October 2014, companies marketing over-the-counter (OTC) medicines will be able to use a short form of advertisement when promoting their products to prescribers and suppliers of medicines.

This responds to a Red Tape Challenge proposal from the Proprietary Association of Great Britain, the OTC trade association. It is designed to reduce the number of times advertisements need to be updated when changes are made to the Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC).

A linked change will allow a link to the SPC to be provided in an advertisement, instead of a summary of this information. The changes are made by regulations 24 and 29 of the Human Medicines (Amendment No. 2) Regulations 2014.

MHRA Blue GuidePDF file (opens in new window) (549Kb), Advertising and promotion of medicines in the UK, has been updated to reflect these changes. Detailed advice on information requirements for advertising to prescribers and suppliers is available in sections 6.4 and 6.5. Self-regulatory codes of practice are also being amended to reflect these changes.

MHRA has also taken the opportunity to make additional updates to the Blue Guide as follows:

  • Updated guidance for providers offering medicinal treatment services, with new advice on advertising in social media (section 7.3 and appendix 6)
  • Additional advice on prohibited gifts and benefits (section 6.14)
  • Updated information about adverse drug reaction reporting (section 7.6)
  • Additional clarification concerning advertising of medicines for use in pregnancy (Appendix 3)
  • Updates to contact details for MHRA staff and information about NICE, ABPI and PMCPA

Any questions about these changes should be sent to the Advertising Standards Unit

Further information:

Consultation proposal, MLX 384 (external link)

Outcome of consultation (external link)

Human Medicines (Amendment No. 2) Regulations 2014, SI 2014/1878 (external link)


Posted on the UK MHRA website on 1 October 2014