Can a company promote to a non-medical prescriber? What about MPs, patient organisation personnel, medical students, can they attend pharmaceutical company exhibition stands?

  • 1.4

    1.4 The term ‘health professional’ includes members of the medical, dental, pharmacy and nursing professions and any other persons who in the course of their professional activities may administer, prescribe, purchase, recommend or supply a medicine.

  • 1.5

    1.5 The term ‘other relevant decision makers’ particularly includes those with an NHS role who could influence in any way the administration, consumption, prescription, purchase, recommendation, sale, supply or use of any medicine but who are not health professionals.

  • 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.

Companies can promote to an individual whose role meets the definition of a health professional (Clause 1.4) or where applicable another relevant decision maker (Clause 1.5). If the individuals role does not meet either definition then they are likely to be considered a member of the public.

Prescription only medicines must not be advertised to the public. This might include MPs, Patient Organisation personnel and medical students. The individual circumstances would need to be considered very carefully.

Where medical students are members of a multidisciplinary team it might be appropriate to include them in meetings for their health professional colleagues. Promotion of prescription only medicines to a group of medical students is unlikely to be acceptable.  Exhibition stands must be suitable for the audience and if this includes members of the public prescription only medicines must not be advertised.