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Vaccine advertising: no to abridged patient information

It is deplorable that vaccine advertising via the powerful media of TV and radio is allowed to contain abridged health information.

In France, direct-to-consumer advertising is prohibited for prescription drugs and for drugs that are reimbursed by French national health insurance, with the exception of vaccines and smoking cessation drugs.

By law, ads for vaccines must include the minimal compulsory information drawn up by the Vaccinations Committee of the French Committee for Public Health (HCSP). However, some advertising media, in particular television and radio, are allowed to abridge this information.

In short, the government has allowed advertising slogans to replace proper patient information.

When vaccination is a preventive public health measure, it is more appropriate for it to be promoted by the health authorities than pharmaceutical companies, which have a clear conflict of interests.

©Prescrire November 2008

Source: "Vaccins et publicité audiovisuelles : informations sur le bon usage "abrégées" " Rev Prescrire 2008; 28 (300): 737.

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