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Print adverts’ prescribing info could be axed

Published on 03/03/14 at 04:50pm
Prescribing image
The plans will not affect medicines adverts aimed at the public

The UK drugs regulator is proposing new rules that could see pharma update safety information for their medicines online, whilst removing prescribing information from print adverts.

The move, put forward this week by the MHRA, could save the UK pharmaceutical industry an estimated £960,000 a year by reducing the costs of keeping print adverts up to date.

This figure comes from both the MHRA and is backed by the UK pharma lobby group the ABPI, which said that the plans could impact around 950 pharma companies. This is all part of new strategies by the regulator to increase the number of adverts aimed at health professionals and retailers.

But doing this in print is expensive for pharma, so the MHRA wants to include a pointer to find information on dosage, contraindications and side effects online, rather than including it in the small print in journals.

And it is not just for patented medicines. The Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB), which represents manufacturers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, also expects to make savings of up to £800 for each of its 20 most widely advertised OTC brands by reducing costs of printing updated prescribing information and safety warnings.

Although it would cost manufacturers to update its digital adverts, the costs would be much lower than with paper adverts, and will seemingly be welcomed by the industry as a whole.

The proposals were the result of the PAGB’s 2012 ‘red-tape challenge’ to the MHRA, aimed at reducing the administrative burden of keeping medicine adverts up-to-date.

The plans won’t affect medicines advertisements aimed at the public, the MHRA added.

Ben Adams 

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