On 13 April, VEGAS LEX hosted the roundtable discussion “Advertising of Medicines: Good Practice Criteria?” with the participation of FAS Russia's Department for Control over Advertising and Unfair Competition. Major pharmaceutical manufacturers and representatives of professional associations took part in the discussion.
Alexander Sitnikov, Managing Partner of VEGAS LEX, made a welcoming speech and thanked FAS Russia for the opportunity to hold an open and direct dialogue with representatives of pharmaceutical business.
Maria Borzova, Manager of Life sciences projects of VEGAS LEX, spoke about the key interpretations of legislation emerging in the law enforcement practice. The expert listed several indicator words, which, when used in advertisements, may indicate a violation of the Advertising Law/Competition Law, and also highlighted a number of ambiguous issues related to the tools for assessing the content of advertising materials and instruments of evidence.
Nikolay Kartashov, Head of FAS Russia’s Department for Control over Advertising and Unfair Competition, noted the growing number of violations of legislation concerning advertising in pharmaceutical industry and urged the participants of discussion to treat the information communicated to consumers more carefully. Mr Kartashov emphasized the importance of the industry rules relating to advertising of medicines, however, noted that FAS Russia does not support the idea of imposition of any additional restrictions. FAS Russia hopes that manufacturers will behave in a responsible and constructive manner and that the industry will be self-regulated in this area.
Irina Vasilenkova, Deputy Head of FAS Russia’s Department for Control over Advertising and Unfair Competition, Head of FAS Russia’s Division for Control over Advertising Legislation, outlined the FAS approaches to the assessment of the content of advertising materials and the ways of communicating information (audiovisuals, references, notes, etc.) to consumers. Ms Vasilenkova answered a number of questions of the round table participants, pointing out, however, that an individual approach rather than a generalized approach should be taken with regard to assessment of advertising materials.
In conclusion, Mr Kartashov drew attention to the opportunity for representatives of pharmaceutical companies to attend the meetings of the Expert Council for Application of Advertising Legislation and the Expert Council for Application of Competition Legislation with regard to Unfair Competition. A number of pharmaceutical market participants expressed their willingness to develop the industry guideline (in the form of glossary/guideline) specifying the practices that are acceptable and those that are unadvisable.
VEGAS LEX thanks all participants for their active involvement and discussion of the issues considered during the round table.
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