656 - In a DTC Consumer Brochure discussing treatment options for a given disease, can narcotic treatments be included in a balanced list of treatment options? We are assuming a Consumer Brochure is not defined as advertising under the Narcotic Control Regulations s70.

  • You are correct in that a piece meeting all the provisions of the consumer brochure would not be considered advertising (and would therefore not be subject to advertising regulations). I advise caution though. If you inadvertently execute the piece in a manner which happens to render it subject to the advertising regulations, NCR 70 would come into play. I therefore strongly urge you to submit the piece to a preclearance body for a DTCI advisory opinion. Be particularly vigilant about focusing mostly on disease information (as opposed to creating a tool which is mostly about drug therapy) AND ensure that all treatment options (pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical) for the specific condition are discussed in a manner which is balanced with respect to risk and benefit. The complete list of provisions can be found in Health Canada’s policy document “The Distinction Between Advertising and Other Activities”. If any competitor would not likely be just as happy to sponsor this piece, you may be treading on dangerous waters.