169 - Can PAAB provide some guidance on the use of physician quotes in promotional material? Can video clips of physician quotes be used at conferences?

  • Physician quotes can be used in advertising. Quotations should be verbatim (and in the same context as the source) with any deletions identified by a series of dots. The sponsor is responsible for securing permission to quote the physician where this is necessary. If it is a fictitious doctor, a disclaimer should clearly disclose this. Aside from that, physician quotes in advertising are held to the same standards as the advertising copy which accompanies them. Physician opinions or testimonials are non-evidenced based statements (s3.1.3). Therefore, any statements or claims made in the quotation must be supported by, and referenced to, rigorous evidence. For example, all statements and claims should be within the limitations of the Terms of Market Authorization (PAAB s3.1), statements about place in therapy should also reflect the Canadian consensus guidelines (PAAB s3.2), some statements and claims may require insertion of qualifiers or quantifiers within the APS, and so on. Some companies prefer to give the healthcare professional (HCP) a pre-approved script (or at least speaking points) in order to obtain a larger number of usable quotes from him/her. Don't assume that physicians know advertising regulations. Remember too, that PAAB review is a regulatory review, based on the Terms of Market Authorization and the entire PAAB code. If your objectives call for more free and open dialogue with the HCP, it is a good idea to submit the questions to PAAB for a written opinion ahead of time. Often, asking the question the right way can improve the odds of getting an answer which can be accepted in advertising. It is also a good idea to inform the HCP about the pertinent advertising regulations. The fact that a doctor said it does not exempt it from the regulations. Ultimately, the sponsor is responsible for all advertising content including HCP quotes.