542 - Can DTC and HCP branded materials have the same headline/creative, if the DTC ad is approved by ASC and the HCP ad by PAAB? Can the DTC ad, if it is digital, link to a gated HCP portal?



  • With respect to the nature of the linkage: Note that PAAB needs to be informed of all materials which link to or from the HCP portal. Please ensure that the initial submission includes this information. We will need to see the DTC ad referred to in your question as it is part of the campaign leading traffic to the HCP portal. The link from the DTC ad should be to the pregate portion of the HCP portal (as the review of the pregate content considers the fact that consumers are a secondary audience for this segment). As the DTC ad leading to the portal is product branded, it is critical that the pregate portion falls within the restrictions of branded DTCRx. For example, I’ve recently seen the following scenario which we had to question. A DTC banner ad was created which simply identified the product name and dose, and linked to the pregate landing page of the HCP website. The landing page of the HCP website stated the therapeutic area but did not include any mention of the product name. So, on its own the landing page did not exceed the consumer regulations. However, by linking the DTC banner ad which identified the product to the landing page which identified the therapeutic area, the combined content exceeded the consumer regulations. Note that Q&A 371 covers related (but different) linkage issues which should also be considered. The preclearance agency: There are two preclearance agencies that are recognized by Health Canada to review DTCRx (i.e. PAAB and ASC). This is outlined in the Health Canada guidance document “Health Canada and Advertising Preclearance Agencies’ Roles Related to Health Product Advertising” PAAB and ASC are distinct organizations. They are therefore governed and operated separately and independently. Although yearly Health Canada bilateral meetings are attended by both PAAB and ASC to promote consistency, it is possible for different preclearance agencies to come to different conclusions about APS messaging due to nuances in approach and/or values. I would therefore caution against expecting that everything which was not questioned by one agency will not be questioned by the other. We can consult with Health Canada for clarification as needed. In summary: In many cases, the product branded HCP advertising can have the same creative/headlines as product branded DTC advertising. But this is not always the case. If you need help for a specific scenario/campaign, feel free to send in a request for written opinion to the PAAB (see the fee schedule on our website www.paab.ca).


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