Posted on July 18, 2018 by staff

Online pharmacy ‘disappointed’ with advertising ban


Online pharmacy business Pharmacy2U has said it is disappointed with the Advertising Standard Authority’s ruling that its advertising campaign misled the public.

The Leeds-based company was told by the advertising watchdog that it must scrap adverts featuring ‘unrealistic’ claims about saving the NHS £300 million.

The ASA investigated the campaign after receiving 24 complaints from the public and one from the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) in relation to two TV adverts and one tweet which were seen late last year.

Pharmacy2U claimed that patients managing their repeat prescriptions online could save the NHS “over £300m a year on prescription costs”.The complainants challenged whether the claims were misleading and could be substantiated.

The ASA ruled that the claims were not currently realistic and told the business that the ads must not appear again in their current form.

Responding to the ruling, a Pharmacy2U spokesperson said: “Managing repeat prescriptions online saves both patients and the NHS time and money – a fact acknowledged by the NHS and the ASA.

“Given this acknowledgement and approval from Clearcast we are disappointed that the ASA has decided to uphold a complaint specific to the way the saving was presented in our advert, which had been generated using a calculation previously approved by the NHS.”

The company said it will work with the ASA to amend the presentation of the cost saving but insisted that the essence of the advertising – that online management of medicines could be better for patients and the NHS – “remains”.

“Online technology has transformed industries from retail to leisure and it is now making a significant and much-needed mark on healthcare, improving patient access to their medicines and helping ease the strain on the NHS,” the spokesperson added.