Medical services advertising – to be or not to be?
Starting from January 1, 2014, amendments to Part 8 of Article 24 of Federal Law No.38-FZ “On advertising” (hereinafter the “Advertising Law”) dated 13.03.2006 has come into effect.
The amendments impose a ban on advertising of pharmaceuticals, medical services and medical products, save for advertising in places holding medical or pharmaceutical exhibitions, seminars, conferences or other similar events, and advertising intended for medical or pharmaceutical workers in special print publications.
Currently, Part 8 Article 24 of the Advertising Law (rev. 28.12.2013) provides that advertising of medical drugs in forms and doses dispensed on prescriptions, medical services (including prevention techniques, methods of diagnostics, treatment and medical rehabilitation) and also medical products which require special training before use, is prohibited, other than:
- in places where medical or pharmaceutical exhibitions, seminars, conferences or other similar events are held;
- in special print media published for medical or pharmaceutical workers.
It should be noted that the bans specified above apply solely to the medical services determined by the Nomenclature of medical services approved by Order No.1664n of the Ministry of Health Care and Social Development of the Russian Federation, dated December 27, 2011 (hereinafter the “Nomenclature of medical services”).
Therefore, if an advertised medical service is specified in the Nomenclature of medical services, dissemination of such advertising is possible only in the places provided by the Advertising Law. Such approach is confirmed by Clarifications No.AK/1193/14 “On amending Federal Law ‘On advertising’” of the Federal Antitrust service, dated January 20, 2014, which are available on site of the Federal Antitrust Service at the following link: http://fas.gov.ru/clarifications/clarifications_30444.html
In the meantime, the amendments caused sharp criticism on the part of the pharmaceutical industry experts. In response to this criticism, the Ministry of Health Care and Social Development put forward an initiative to develop new amendments to the current edition of the law, referring to the fact that the bans can decrease availability of information about medical services for the public and affect interests of commercial clinics.
Evidently, the result of restrictions introduced in the Advertising Law was not completely thought through, and it is possible that soon the norm will be revised once again.
Should any questions arise in connection with the above or if you need any additional materials, please contact Irina Akimova or Natalia Rossikhina, Moscow Office of Capital Legal Services.
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