Health: Herbal medicine

Aug 5th '15

BREXIT – The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) Codes include many rules which seek to reflect significant pieces of EU law or UK law that has been made to implement EU law. As far as CAP is aware, the same rules and laws will apply on the day after exit as on the day before. This CAP News Article explains the position further.


The UK definition of a medicinal product also includes traditional herbal medicinal products (THM). Herbal medicines are derived wholly from plants and plant extracts.


  • Ensure your medicine is registered

THMs should have a “traditional herbal registration” under the Traditional Herbal Medicines Registration Scheme (which implements Directive 2004/24/EC) which, once obtained, allows marketers to advertise for the indications listed in the product’s summary of product characteristics. Medicinal claims should not be made for THMs which do not have the appropriate registration.


  • Include mandatory information in your ad

The Code states that marketing communications for a traditional herbal medicinal product must include mandatory information which can be found in the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) Blue Guide (Rule 12.13). Mandatory information includes statements such as “based on traditional use only” and ads must not state or imply that registration is based upon clinical trials.


Prescription-only medicines (POMs) cannot be advertised to the public and claims for so-called herbal alternatives, such as herbal Viagra, are equally likely to be problematic.


See ‘Healthcare: Medicinal claims’.


Source: CAP


Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). CAP’s AdviceOnline entries provide guidance on interpreting the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing.


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