Correct on One Go
Inspection Board I Newsletter 2/2011
“The most frequently used medicine” is a tricky statement
If an ad maintains that a medicine is “the most frequently used painkiller in Finland”, you must also always prove your allegation.
The consumption estimates are based on the only available data, or the medicine sales of the wholesalers, and it may be that some of the sales in these statistics remain stored in the pharmacies or the consumers' medicine cabinets. Therefore, the estimates of the real consumption volumes of a particular pharmaceutical product can only be indirect and they are not accurate enough to constitute factual allegations. In addition, if comparisons are made, the products must be comparable from the consumer’s point of view.
In the advertising targeted at consumers, comparisons of the sales volume of self-care medicines can be made if
the comparison is made only to other self-care medicines available for the same ailment.
it is possible to verify the result of the comparison water-tightly using all medicine sale statistics.
the measurements used are clearly indicated, showing which pharmaceutical group with comparable medicines is concerned.
The sales volume is not the same as the volume of use. Measuring the actual volume of use calls for representative population-based research.
The company is responsible for all the elements of a TV or radio spot that has undergone preliminary inspection. The facts must remain completely correct and verifiable throughout the three-year period of validity. This is worth remembering.
The study results and their sources must be reliable, and they must not be used to give a wrong or misleading impression of the medicine or its medical significance. Reference to the source material must be made so that the source can be identified without difficulty.
The use of various tests measuring the consumers’ state of health is allowed, for example in health awareness communications, if such tests are scientifically validated and have been published in a scientific publication.
The Inspection Board’s roses go to the animated TV spots of Canesten Kombi and Pantoloc products. The narrative matches the subject matters in the spots, and the well-crafted humour complements the image conveyed. The text on the product benefits, important for the consumer, is well distinct from the background, and it is easy for the consumer to internalise the information contained in the spot.