Advertising may only be carried out for drugs that are authorised for marketing in Austria. Advertising must be objective, must not contain any exaggeration of effects or guarantees of success and must be compatible with the product labelling, instructions for use (IFU) and summary of product characteristics (SmPC).
A general ban on advertising to the general public applies to prescription medicines, non-prescription medicines with names that contain the same fantasy word or the same customary scientific term as a prescription medicine, medicines that are included in the Reimbursement Code of the Austrian Sick Fund, and registered homeopathic drugs.
In addition to the above, several restrictions apply to the content of advertising to the general public, the most significant ones being (a complete list can be found in § 53 (1) AMG):
- Pictorial representations of HCPs or health institutions;
- Elements which make a medical examination or surgical intervention appear superfluous, in particular by offering remote diagnosis or treatment;
- Claim of absence of side effects and comparative advertising;
- Claims that the drug may improve the patient’s normal good health or that it may be harmed if the patient does not take the drug;
- Addressed mainly or exclusively to children;
- Recommendation by scientists, HCPs or third parties who may encourage the consumption of medicines due to their high profile;
- Promotion as a natural product to demonstrate efficacy and safety;
- Tempting to incorrect self-diagnosis through detailed description or presentation of the anamnesis.
5.2 Medical devices
Medical devices must not be labelled, presented or advertised in a way that is not in accordance with the facts or deceptive.
A general advertising ban towards the general public applies to prescription medical devices, those intended exclusively for use by HCPs on or for the patient and medical devices that according to their instructions for use may only be used by the consumer in connection with medical treatment.