Shall the billboards of prescription only medicines be hidden at promotional booth? Can banners be placed without opening own booth? If so, which requirements shall be met?
AZS Partners' current summary seeks to have a better understanding of this topic, based on the recently published ruling of the competent authority still known during the inspection as OGYEI (as of 1 August, NNGYK).

1. The banners and beyond

The Authority inspected the promotional activity of a pharma company at a congress and cited that the fixed banners of prescription only medicines were left unattended for a longer time - while the sales representatives were attending a symposium.

The authority was not impressed by the arguments of the pharma company that the content of the banners was the same as of the printed promotional brochure, that these were approved in the same way and that the printed leaflets were always kept locked away by the sales reps when on a short break. Argument was further that during these breaks no promotional activity is being carried out. However,  the promotional content of the banners displayed on the back of the booth has not been covered.

The authority has consistently held that if no sales reps are present at the booth,

  • no promotional activity is allowed,
  • no leaflets may be available,
  • banners must be removed or, if not feasible, covered or otherwise rendered unrecognizable.

Hence, a large blanket or towel may be useful in the future not only on the beach but also at promotional events. The authority emphasized that the booth may be left unattended by sales reps (without removing and/or covering the banners) only in exceptional cases, for a bathroom break of maximum 10-15 minutes.

2. Will banners be over without booth?

The above practice is well known by the market players, but the conclusion of the ruling is even more exciting. The authority finds the practise of pharma congresses unlawful if fixed promo materials like banners are placed by pharma companies at the congress premises without being represented by sales reps and opening a booth.

The authority derives another expectation from the well-known requirement that the promotional activity must be separated not only in time but also in space from the professional programme of the event. The authority also opposed to the practice that the banners are placed not only within the exhibition area, i.e. that banners and billboards of medicines are located anywhere at the venue of the event. By contrast the authority expects that posters and billboards are placed only within the exhibition area.

The full text of the ruling in Hungarian is available here.

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The purpose of this summary is to provide a brief, concise overview of certain issues. The contents of this summary are not exhaustive and do not constitute legal advice. Please contact us if you have any further questions.


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