It was decided what drug and food supplements advertising should look like


2018 07 16


The Seimas approved the amendments to the Law on Pharmacy drafted by the Ministry of Health (SAM), proposing a very clear distinction between advertising of medicines and food supplements, thus preventing people from making mistakes and risking their health by acquiring inappropriate or unnecessary nutritional supplements. It has also been decided when drug advertisers will be allowed to visit healthcare institutions, and when not.

The proposed amendments are based on the fact that medicines in Lithuania are often advertised together with food supplements that are classified as food products. So the impression is that food supplements are also medicines. Especially when the regulatory references required by the law (‘Please read the package leaflet carefully and use the medicine as directed. The misuse of the medicine may harm your health’) is included in the advertisement, which also deals with the food supplement. This gives people the impression that food supplements are also drugs.

In such cases, mislead by advertisement people acquire nutritional supplements not for supplementing their nutrition but treating or preventing illness, and therefore do not apply to doctor and start treatment on time. It can not only harm health but also accounts for high additional, but unnecessary or irrelevant costs, which raise unjustified public dissatisfaction with high prices of medicines (and in fact - food supplements).

Also, in order to increase the transparency of cooperation between pharmaceutical companies and medical establishments and to avoid possible agreements on the allocation of medicines, it was decided to restrict visits by drug advertisers to medical institutions when they meet in person with a doctor. Drug advertisers will be able to provide information about their products only at promotional events in the healthcare facility. This will prevent from possible non-transparent agreements, reduce the influence of the drug advertisers on the medical treatment of patients with medicinal products, but will not reduce the availability of new medication information for doctors, and to make them available to drug advertisers.


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