When launching an advertising campaign for a drug, any specialist is faced with the need to comply with Article 24 of the Federal Law “On Advertising”, which the law restricts the advertising of drugs in all placement channels. In addition to the legal aspects, there are site rules. Anything that can be admitted to advertising in Yandex.Direct, for example, online pharmacies, will be prohibited in Google Ads – online pharmacies can only be advertised in a limited list of countries.
We have collected the basic rules for launching an advertising campaign for a medicinal product (dietary supplement) in Yandex.Direct and Google Ads.
Advertising in Yandex.Direct
Advertising of over-the-counter medicines is allowed subject to several rules.
In an ad, you cannot:
- To guarantee the positive effect of the drug, its safety, effectiveness and the absence of side effects: “Effectively relieves a sore throat”, “Eliminates unpleasant symptoms.” Instead, it is better to use “Promotes deliverance / elimination”.
- Contact minors. For example, you can’t go directly to teens to advertise an acne remedy.
- Present the results of the studies carried out as evidence of the effectiveness of the drug: “Proven by clinical trials.”
- Present a medicinal product as a food additive or cosmetic product: “Based on natural ingredients”; “Natural source …”.
- Compare the drug with other drugs: “It works twice as fast as …”.
The ad must not:
- Contain links to specific cases of people curing and improving their condition as a result of the use of the drug: “9 out of 10 who took have noticed improvements.”
- Contain links to therapeutic effects in relation to diseases that are refractory or difficult to treat. For example, it cannot be mentioned that the drug can help get rid of an incurable disease.
- To create the impression that it is unnecessary to consult a doctor: “Using the ointment will avoid surgical intervention.”
- Declare the properties and methods of use of the drug that are not in its instructions for use.
A warning “There are contraindications. Consult your doctor. ” You must add this warning yourself to image ads.
In search results:
Please note that until February 2019, most medical ads on Yandex.Direct were banned from serving both for behavioral targeting and for retargeting and audience matching. However, this did not apply to advertisements for immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, analgesic, antitussive, antiallergic, antimicrobial and antiviral drugs. And advertising of drugs “for adults”, for example, means to stimulate sexual activity or contraceptives, are allowed to be shown only on the search engine.
Prescription drugs cannot be advertised on the territory of the Russian Federation. However, campaigns can use prescription-name keyword phrases because they are a conditional display and not part of an ad.
Advertising of dietary supplements in Yandex.Direct is allowed, provided that certain rules are followed when composing advertisements. They should not:
- To create the impression that dietary supplements are drugs and have medicinal properties: “Normalizes the intestinal microflora”, “Promotes normalization.” Instead, it is better to use “For intestinal microflora”.
- Contain links to specific cases of curing people and improving their condition as a result of the use of dietary supplements.
- Encourage people to abandon a healthy diet, to argue that the use of dietary supplements can replace the daily diet, and not be an addition to it.
- To present the results of the studies carried out as evidence of the therapeutic effect and benefits of dietary supplements, and also to use the research results in the form of a direct recommendation for use. For example, do not use the wording “Recommended by dermatologists”.
When displaying text ads, they will automatically add a “Not a cure” warning, which, like OTC ads, must be added to image ads yourself.
In search results:
Moderation and documentation
You cannot go through Yandex moderation without providing a number of documents, the contents of which depend on the type of drug.
Documents for OTC drugs:
- a copy of the license for pharmaceutical activities;
- a copy of the certificate or declaration of conformity for the medicinal product;
- a copy of the registration certificate of the medicinal product, if the product is not included in the state register of medicinal products;
- a copy of the license for the production of medicines for drugs produced in Russia.
You must additionally provide a letter of guarantee on the availability of all the necessary documents if you advertise several medicines. It must be executed strictly in accordance with the rules.
Documents for dietary supplements
To advertise dietary supplements, a copy of the certificate of state registration of a specific name of the dietary supplement is required. If you advertise several dietary supplements, you must additionally provide a letter of guarantee on the availability of all the necessary documents, drawn up according to the rules.
Documents are sent after sending ads for verification. In case of rejection, you need to contact the moderation service. It will remove the restrictions from the display if a complete list of documents was received that meets the requirements.
Difficulties in passing moderation may arise if one of the rules for composing advertisements, which we wrote about above, is not observed. In this case, the moderation service specialists will point out errors, and the ads will be allowed to be shown only after corrections are made.
Advertising in Google Ads
Pharmaceutical manufacturers can advertise over-the-counter drugs as required by local laws.
- When targeting Russia, your ad text should contain one of the following warnings: “There are contraindications. Consult your doctor “,” There are contraindications. Ask your doctor ”,“ There are contraindications. Before use, you must read the instructions “or” There are contraindications, you must consult a specialist. ” Warnings must be added on their own, and also be present on the site of the advertised drug.
In a search ad:
On the site:
- Your ad and website must not include any prescription or prescription drugs listed on Google.
- The site must not contain links to online pharmacies.
- It is forbidden to use false statements or promise unlikely results, even if they are theoretically possible, for example, “Relieve a sore throat in 5 minutes.”
- It is prohibited to use words such as “take”, “treat”, “treatment”, “injections”, as well as all medical terms in the texts of advertisements. Otherwise, the ads will receive the “approved with restrictions” status. This means that they will not be shown on the territory of the Russian Federation.
- Remarketing in drug advertisements is also prohibited. In very rare cases, such campaigns are not rejected, which is generally against the rules of placement.
- Advertising is prohibited for products whose names are virtually indistinguishable from the names of anabolic steroids, weight loss drugs, prescription drugs, non-overseas substances, and other products that are not allowed to be advertised in accordance with these rules. For example, the name of the drug Fentrimin is similar to the prescription Phentermine, Sealis is very similar to the prescription Cialis, and Dinabol is similar to the anabolic steroid Dianabol.
- Prescription drugs are not allowed to be advertised in the RF.
- It is prohibited to use the names of prescription drugs in keywords and ad text.
- If an advertiser is geo-targeting one of the countries where prescription drug ads are allowed (USA, Canada, New Zealand), then they need to pass Google certification.
- If the advertised drug contains one of the substances that is on the Google list, ads will not be displayed, even if the drug is sold over the counter without a prescription.
- Advertising of dietary supplements on Google is allowed, provided that the composition does not contain substances that are on the list of prohibited pharmaceuticals and food additives.
- Advertising of dietary supplements in Russia is permitted only if the ad contains the text “Not a medicine”. The same warning should be added to the product site.
- In the announcement:
On the site:
- Advertisements are prohibited on products with false or misleading health claims, or on sites that primarily sell products claiming to be comparable in effectiveness to anabolic steroids, weight loss and erectile dysfunction medications, or over-the-counter medications by prescription and non-over-the-counter substances.
- Advertising of dietary supplements and herbal products containing potent or dangerous ingredients is prohibited.
Moderation and documentation
OTC Substances / Supplements
Manufacturers of pharmaceutical products and dietary supplements must be certified by Google by submitting an application form.
Moderators will check the ads for the absence of prohibited formulations in the texts and on the website, as well as the names of drugs included in the list of prohibited from advertising on Google. When the rules are met, but the ad is still rejected, you need to contact Google Ads support. By this time, certification should already have been passed.
If a moderation service specialist discovers on the advertised site the name of a substance included in the list of prohibited substances, he will offer to remove the indication of this substance from the site and send ads for re-moderation.
In addition to “stop words”, we do not recommend using phrases in the texts of advertisements that guarantee the result from the use of the drug or that distinguish the drug from the rest – “the best remedy for a sore throat”, “No. 1 in Russia”.
Advertising of prescription drugs is prohibited on the territory of the Russian Federation.
In rare cases, there are exceptions to this rule for government health and safety organizations and recognized nonprofit health organizations. In this case, you need to contact Google specialists.
Despite the fact that the promotion of medicines on Yandex and Google platforms has a long list of restrictions, advertising there can and should be. Exactly follow the instructions and rules of the sites, creating ads and texts, as well as prepare a set of necessary documents in advance – and then moderation will not be scary.