Advertising

Published: December 2014

Legislative References:

Additional References:

  • Professional Responsibility Principles (Pharmacy Connection Spring 2014)
  • Professionalism and Ethical Decision-Making (Pharmacy Connection Spring 2014)
  • The Language of Regulation (Pharmacy Connection Winter 2014)

College Contact: Professional Practice


Advertising – Member’s Responsibility:

It is the responsibility of individual members to determine the appropriateness of advertising based on legislative requirements and professional responsibilities. Advertising is addressed through regulations under the Drug and Pharmacies Regulation Act (O. reg. 264/16 Part V) and the Pharmacy Act (O. reg. 202/94 Part VII.2). In addition, the College has published multiple resources that a member can utilize to guide ethical and professional decision making. The Ontario College of Pharmacists cannot provide legal advice or make a determination as to whether an ad or sign is in violation of legislative requirements or professional responsibilities. The guidance provided in this fact sheet is not exhaustive and members who, after having read the information provided in the fact sheet, remain unsure about their particular circumstance, should exercise due diligence and obtain independent legal advice to address their outstanding concerns. The College has provided the following resources which a member can utilize to guide decision making with respect to advertising:

A. An advertisement that includes price information relating to drugs referred to in Schedule I shall include the price information for at least 15 different drugs, 10 of which each belong to a different one of the following drug classifications:

  1. Anti-infective agents.
  2. Antineoplastic agents.
  3. Autonomic agents.
  4. Blood formation and coagulation drugs.
  5. Cardiovascular drugs.
  6. Central nervous system drugs.
  7. Diagnostic agents.
  8. Electrolytic, caloric and water balance drugs.
  9. Cough preparations.
  10. Eye, ear, nose and throat preparations.
  11. Gastrointestinal drugs.
  12. Gold compounds.
  13. Heavy metal antagonists.
  14. Hormones and substitutes.
  15. Oxytocics.
  16. Skin and mucous membrane preparations.
  17. Spasmolytics.
  18. Unclassified therapeutic agents.
  19. Vitamins.

B. (2) If an advertisement includes price information relating to a drug in Schedule I, the advertisement shall contain the length of time the advertised price will be available and sufficient information to enable a reasonable member of the public to understand the price of the drug having regard to its quantity, strength, dosage and the fee for dispensing it.

C. An advertisement that includes price information relating to drugs referred to in Schedule I shall include, in addition to the price information, the following information with respect to each advertised drug:

  1. The strength of the drug.
  2. The brand name of the drug.
  3. The dosage form of the drug.

D. Where an advertisement includes price information relating to drugs referred to in Schedule I, equal prominence shall be given to each drug and, for each of those drugs, equal prominence shall be given to all the information.


Legislation to Consider When Developing Advertising

  • The portion of the Pharmacy Act, O. Reg. 202/94 that refers to Advertising is Part VII.2 (ADVERTISING), s. 28 TO 30
  • Advertising of narcotics is not permitted as per the Narcotic Control Regulations made under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, s.70

Professional Responsibilities to Consider When Advertising:

  • A member should review the Standards of Practice which demonstrate professional expectations when delivering pharmacy services
  • Reviewing the Code of Ethics will provide a member with foundational principles of acceptable conduct that form a framework for ethics and professionalism for the delivery of pharmacy services