Can a company pay for its press release to be published?

  • 26.1

    26.1 Prescription only medicines must not be advertised to the public. This prohibition does not apply to vaccination campaigns carried out by companies and approved by the health ministers.

Pharmaceutical companies commonly issue press releases which contain product claims and pack shots (or a statement that a pack shot is available on request). Once a press release is issued, however, a company should have no control over the placement of any subsequent article and nor should it, or its agent, make any payment in relation to an article’s publication. Whether and where articles appear in the press should be solely at the publisher’s discretion and articles should be printed wholly at the publisher’s expense. If a company, or its agent, controls or in any way pays for the placement of an article about a product, then that article will be regarded as an advertisement for the product. Similarly any payment will be regarded as turning the resulting article into an advertisement.