Notice: Health Canada is now conducting Proactive Monitoring of the Canadian Health Product Advertising Environment

March, 2019

Health product advertising directed to the Canadian public and healthcare professionals uses a variety of means, including television, radio, newspapers, pamphlets, scientific journals, and sales representatives’ visits. Traditionally, Health Canada’s approach to the monitoring of health product advertising has been primarily reactive, that is, based on advertising complaints it has received. As part of the government’s efforts to combat the opioid crisis, the Minister announced the launch of a new proactive approach to monitoring advertising of opioid products in June 2018. Health Canada created a dedicated advertising compliance and enforcement team to proactively monitor the Canadian health product advertising environment, enforce the existing requirements around health product advertising, and take action where necessary.  In December 2018, Health Canada expanded this proactive approach to include all health product lines. Health Canada will continue to address advertising complaints it receives and will post all non-compliant advertising incidents (from reactive and proactive approaches) on its Web site.

Global Approach to Proactive Monitoring:

Health Canada is committed to engaging in a proactive monitoring approach for advertising which is efficient and effective, while focusing resources on non-compliant advertising and marketing issues that may pose a greater risk to the health of Canadians. The overall aim of the approach is to:

  • identify non-compliant activities rapidly
  • respond promptly with compliance and enforcement tools
  • prevent emerging trends and issues from occurring
  • monitor compliance over time

Compliance and Enforcement:

When non-compliance is identified, enforcement actions will be taken. Through this initiative, Health Canada is sending a clear signal that non-compliant advertising in the Canadian environment will not be tolerated. Health Canada will undertake strict compliance and enforcement actions using regulatory and non-regulatory levers at its disposal.

Questions or concerns regarding this notice should be directed to MHPD_DPSC-Advertising_Reg_Publicite@hc-sc.gc.ca.

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