The ad industry faced its first threat to self-regulation under
Labour this week after a government body wrote to warn drugs companies
that they could face criminal charges if their ads break official
Pharmaceutical companies could face fines of up to pounds 5,000 and
their directors up to five years in jail, even if their ads conform to
ad industry codes.
The tough stance comes from the Medicines Control Agency, which sets the
rules for drug advertising. There is no right of appeal against its
decisions and it is under no obligation to justify them.
Industry leaders fear a number of politicians and civil servants -
outside the largely sympathetic Department of Trade and Industry and the
Department of Culture, Media and Sport - believe self-regulation is not
The Advertising Association and the Proprietary Association of Great
Britain, which represents drugs manufacturers, are fighting the MCA’s
efforts. Sheila Kelly, the PAGB’s executive director, was this week due
to discuss the proposals with Matti Alderson, the director-general of
the Advertising Standards Authority.
This article was first published on Campaign