Persons qualified to prescribe or supply (PQPS)
This Code applies to the advertising of over-the-counter medicines wholly or mainly to Persons Qualified to Prescribe or Supply (and appropriate administrative staff) and where the object of the advertising is to influence sales and/or recommendations to the general public.
For THMs, this includes herbal practitioners involved in selling medicines to the public.
N.B. Advertising intended to influence the writing of prescriptions is covered by the ABPI Code of Practice, not by this code (See 1.3.1).
Advertising under the Professional Code is aimed at Persons Qualified to Prescribe or Supply (PQPS), and can be regarded as any advertisement primarily intended to promote sale or recommendation of an OTC medicine to a consumer/patient.
The PAGB Professional Code for Medicines does not cover the advertising of over-the-counter medicines aimed wholly or mainly at the public. This is covered by the PAGB Consumer Code.
A full definition of Persons Qualified to Prescribe or Supply can be found in section 6.2 of the MHRA Blue Guide which is available online.
Students of the above professions are not considered to be persons qualified to prescribe or supply.
Administrative staff and students of the above professions, for example those working in doctors’ surgeries or pharmacies, are permitted to see advertisements aimed at persons qualified to prescribe or supply.
Where advertising is placed in journals with a mixed readership, it is the main audience that determines the status of the readership, and hence which Code applies. For example, the British Medical Journal may be read by consumers. However, the majority of the readership will be doctors and, therefore, the PAGB Professional Code for Medicines will apply.
Websites that contain advertisements/information aimed at professionals should make it very clear that the site is for professionals only. Where websites contain materials both for professionals and consumers, there must be a clear differentiation between what is aimed at consumers and what is aimed at professionals.