All APS must be accurate, complete and clear so as to promote credibility and trust. Statements or illustrations must not mislead.
Advertising must be truthful and presented in a manner that is ethical and appropriate for a varied audience.
The Code does not accept APS that are prejudicial to any gender, race, occupation or patient group, or contravene the ethical values of the health professions.
For additional guidance, the Reviewer has access to supplemental codes and guidelines.
The advertiser must reconsider statements or visual presentations that are potentially offensive, or that may have a "negative effect" upon company or patient images.
In company-generated copy or quote(s) from referenced material, no APS may state or imply in absolute terms that any product is ‘safe’, ‘ideal’, ‘non-toxic’, has ‘guaranteed efficacy’, is ‘uniformly well tolerated’, or has "totally predictable action or clinical effect".
The Code does not accept statements that claim directly, or indirectly, 100 percent clinical efficacy or safety.
The advertiser may make properly supported absolute statements when describing product properties (e.g. pharmacology, actions, kinetics, etc.) if these are presented or grouped separately from the clinical claims section; this avoids any extrapolation of laboratory superiority to imply clinical efficacy or advantage.
The following are other examples of terms, which may not be used, in an absolute or categorical sense or in an unqualified manner: "avoids", "eradicates", "cures", and "eliminates".
APS must not imitate the general layout, text or visual presentation of other pharmaceutical company advertisements in a way likely to mislead or confuse the reader.
Promotional items offered in advertisements must be related directly to the product or its use(s), or be of practical value to the health professional. Such items must withstand professional and public scrutiny. Items intended for distribution to patients via a health professional must be useful as aids to patients’ understanding of, or adaptation to, their condition(s) or for encouraging compliance with recommended therapy.
Such presentations must also conform to individual association codes of marketing practices such as the Innovative Medicines Canada, BIOTECanada, CGPA and by health professional organizations such as CMA or CPhA.
For purposes of this Code "practical value" shall be limited to compliance with recommended therapy, items useful to the healthcare professionals in their practice, and/or as teaching aids for patients Innovative Medicines Canada, “Code of Ethical Practices” at www.innovativemedicines.ca.
Scare tactics. Advertising that induces fear or uses scare tactics to introduce unwarranted concern will not be accepted.
Superlatives. Unless substantiation can be provided, advertisers may not claim or imply that a product has a superlative feature or function (e.g., comments such as most effective, or least toxic), or is accorded special status (such as being unique). Similarly, advertisers may not, without substantiation, claim or imply superiority or special status for a company, its personnel, services, or product line.