Advertisement Activities Related to Pharmaceutical Products

Under Turkish Law, advertisement activities related to the pharmaceutical products are mainly regulated under the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Preparations Law numbered 1262 (“PMPL”) and Law on the Establishment and Satellite Services of Radios and Televisions numbered 6112 (“LRT”). Such regulations provide strict provisions for the advertisement of pharmaceutical products as follows:             

As per Article 13 of PMPL,
•    advertisements and promotions related to prescription pharmaceutical products shall only be published in medical publications.
•    advertisements and promotions related to non-prescription pharmaceutical products may be published in newspapers and prospectuses/instruction books only allowed in the event that such products are advertised with the expression of “the usage is helpful for … illnesses” in

Due to the strict wording of PMPL, advertisement activities of pharmaceutical products other than the above-mentioned ones are not allowed. According to Article 5 of the Regulation on the Advertising Activities of Medicinal Products for Human Use which is entered into force under PMPL, in principle, the pharmaceutical products shall not be subject to any direct or indirect advertising activities on any media which is accessible to public, such as internet and communication medias. However, the license holder may publish the prospectus and usage areas of the related pharmaceutical products on its website and medias approved by the related authority. In any case, the pharmaceutical products may be introduced by the authorized parties to the members of medical environment. Furthermore, it should be noted that the pharmaceutical products shall be licensed in order to be subject to any advertisement activity.

In addition to the provisions set out under PMPL, as per Article 11 of LRT,
•    the prescription pharmaceutical products shall not be subject to any advertisement or promotion. 
•    the non-prescription pharmaceutical products may be subject to advertisement and promotions under the principle of honesty, and in such manner that they will comprise elements that reflect the truth and can be verified.

It is clear that there is a contradiction between the related provisions of PMPL and LRT. It can be claimed that since PMPL was entered into force in 1928 and LRT was entered into force in 2011, lex posterior modifies and amends the legi priori (i.e. posterior provision on the same subject prevails the previous provision). However, in a decision of the State Council dated 2005, the State Council decided that advertisement of non-prescription pharmaceutical products is not allowed although it is allowed by LRT. At the time of the decision there was a similar provision included in the Law on the Establishment and Satellite of Radios and Televisions numbered 3984 which is former regulation regulates the scope of LRT and the State Council decided in this respect.

The parties may be subject to administrative penalty in case of the non-compliance with the rules set out under PMPL. Furthermore, in case such non-compliance activities are carried out via internet, the authorities may block the access of such website. Additionally, advertisement of pharmaceutical products published on the internet may also be subject to content removal procedures under Law on Regulation of Publications on the Internet and Suppression of Crimes Committed by Means of Such Publications.

As to the legislation and administrative attitude of the authorities related to the advertisement activities of non-prescription pharmaceutical products, it can be easily claimed that there is neither clear rule nor final decision.