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Advertising pharmacy only medicines

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Schedule 3 medicines are pharmacist-only medicines. They are available from pharmacies without a prescription; however, a pharmacist must be consulted to ensure professional advice is received. Schedule 3 medicines will have the words ‘PHARMACIST ONLY MEDICINE’ on the label.

Mandatory requirements for advertising pharmacy medicines

The Code requires advertising for Schedule 3 (Appendix H) medicines to prominently display or communicate the statement:

ASK YOUR PHARMACIST – THEY MUST DECIDE IF THIS PRODUCT IS RIGHT FOR YOU

The purpose of this statement is to alert consumers that it is necessary to engage with a pharmacist who can assess the suitability of the medicine.  This requirement does not apply to:

  • labels, patient information leaflets or Consumer Medicine Information (CMI)
  • an advertisement displaying only the name or picture of the product or its price or point of sale (where it is sold), provided the advertisement does not contain or imply a claim relating to therapeutic use.

Prominently displayed or communicated

In order to ‘prominently display or communicate the statement’, advertisers need to ensure that:

  • visual statements stand out, so they are easily read from a reasonable viewing distance
  • spoken statements can be clearly heard and understood
  • the statement is repeated as often as necessary to ensure that it is likely to be noticed by the viewer or listener.

Other advertising requirements

As well as the requirements around advertising Schedule 3 (Appendix H) medicines, advertisers must comply with the other relevant requirements in the Code. For example, the Code specifies that:

  • advertising must be accurate, balanced, truthful and not misleading
  • advertisements for analgesic medicines must prominently display or communicate the statement ‘INCORRECT USE COULD BE HARMFUL’.

However, advertisements for these medicines do not need the ‘ALWAYS READ THE LABEL’, ‘THIS MEDICINE MAY NOT BE RIGHT FOR YOU…’, ‘FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE’ or the symptoms statements required in the advertising for other types of medicines.

 

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