Ethical Promotion and
Advertising of Medicines:
Where do we Draw
Crystal Avenue, Heath, Cardiff, UK
The nature and varieties of “ethics” have been described and discussed elsewhere, and it is axiomatic that in professional life one occasionally is obliged to choose between satisfying one’s personal ethics and one’s professional ethics and even, in extreme cases, the law. The title of this chapter is perhaps ambiguous. Some readers may expect ethical advertising to mean the advertising of “ethical medicines”, that is medicines which may only be supplied to the public on prescription. In this chapter the term will be used in the context of the advertising being ethical, which means morally correct, truthful, honest. In addition, consideration will be given to the advertising of medicines generally, that is those available to the public without prescription as well as those available on prescription only.
The term “patent medicine” was formerly used to describe medicines sold to the public under a name registered as the property of a particular individual or company. A few such medicines were, or had been, the subject of a patent, but are now more correctly described as “proprietary medicines”.
Pharmaceutical Ethics. Edited by S. Salek and A. Edgar. © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.