Our Organization

About PAAB

The Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board (PAAB) is an independent not-for-profit organization funded on a fee-for-service model. It is the only regulator whose preclearance service is recognized by Health Canada for advertising directed to healthcare professionals. PAAB works to protect Canadians by ensuring that healthcare product advertising meets the regulatory, scientific, therapeutic, and ethical standards outlined in the Code of Advertising Acceptance. All PAAB approved materials bear the PAAB logo.

Learn more about becoming a member of PAAB and have a voice in our work


Working Together For You

PAAB maintains a collaborative relationship with Health Canada. In fact, as an ex-officio observer to the Board of Directors, Health Canada is invited to send an official to attend all PAAB board meetings. Health Canada acts as advisor to the Board without relinquishing any part of its authority under the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations.

The Board of Directors

The PAAB board is made up of representatives from a number of key stakeholders within the healthcare landscape. Below you can see a list of member organizations and their appointed representative:

Lorenzo Biondi


Cécile Bensimon

Vice Chair

Jim Hall

Canadian Association of Medical Publishers (CAMP)


Alex Dearham

Canadian Medical Association (CMA)

Joseph Chan

Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada (FHCP)

Anita Hammer


Lama Abi Khaled

Innovative Medicines Canada 

James Mastin

Nurse Practitioner Association of Canada (NPAC)

Sean McNamara

Canadian Dental Association

Denis Morrice

Best Medicines Coalition

Michael Service

Canadian Healthcare Communications Providers (CHCP)

Tammy Quinn

Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA)

Agni Shah

Consumer Council of Canada

Kristin Willemsen

Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA)

The Organization

Mission Target Icon

The Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board provides independent preclearance and advisory services that enable health product advertising to comply with the Canadian regulatory framework.


Truthful and trustworthy health product advertising that promotes the health and safety of Canadians.

Values Scales

Integrity, Competency, Credibility, Independence, Excellence, Transparency


The PAAB is an independent review agency whose primary role is to ensure that health product communication for prescription, non-prescription, biological and natural health products is accurate, balanced and evidence-based, and reflects current and best practice.

The PAAB also monitors trends in health product advertising and promotion and adjusts its code and practices as required to fulfill its mandate.

PAAB Scope

The scope of the PAAB includes promotional health product communication for prescription, non-prescription, biological and natural health products to healthcare professionals in all media. PAAB also provides advisory comments on direct-to-consumer materials for prescription drugs.

Why PAAB is important

1 Circle

Rigorous independent review to help ensure promotional materials are balanced, accurate, complete, and trustworthy

2 Circle

Confidence that patient receive accurate and balanced information about their products and diseases

3 Circle

Assurance of a level and compliant playing field for the industry.

Healthcare Shield

Healthcare Professional

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healthcare professionals

PAAB Strategic Plan

PAAB 2023-2025 Strategic Plan


PAAB History Timeline

Take a look at the evolution of the PAAB from its inception in 1976 to its current structure, policies and practices. View some of our key milestones throughout the years.


The PAAB is incorporated

Getting started

A little under a year into its existence, The PAAB had 2 staff and reviewed about 400 submissions.

First PAAB Code

The first official PAAB Code was published to communicate advertising standards. Although the code standards applied to all advertising/promotional systems, preclearance review was required specifically for journal ads and direct mail. The PAAB Code applies to all pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The scope was rapidly expanded to cover service aids, audio programs, and service-oriented vehicles (desk calendars, diaries, personal prescription pads).

Code Revision

The code was updated to include additional provisions which were specific to direct mail and service aids.

Code Revisions

The code was revised to specify mandatory preclearance of detail aids and electronic material.

First National Training Workshops

The PAAB recognizes that training is a valuable tool and an important service to offer its clients. The first National Training Workshops took place in Toronto and Montreal. Approximately 100 clients attended the event at each of the two sites. National workshops continue to be offered annually. At these workshops, we strive to address relevant changes in the code, marketplace and regulatory landscape while still exploring the basics of the code. More information about the workshops can be found on our events page

DTCARx opinions

The scope of The PAAB preclearance review was expanded to include opinions of DTCRx advertising and information

Major Code Revision

A complete rewrite of the code with the addition of explanatory notes to elaborate on the code standards

Complaint procedures

The PAAB remodelled the complaint process with the addition of mandatory timelines and specification of who could launch a complaint. The complaints process can be found on the PAAB Code website.


The scope of The PAAB preclearance review is expanded to include a formal opinion service for clarification on whether an activity is advertising subject to the regulations, linkage of materials, acceptability of concepts, contextual issues, acceptability of references for product claims, and exemption requests. For more information see “Policy Clarification - Opinions and Complete Submission Procedure”

PreNOC reviews

In recognition of tight timelines around product launches, the PAAB offers a pre-NOC review of up to two Advertising/Promotional Systems (APS) once the Health Canada review of the product monograph is at final-draft stage. PAAB approval will not be provided until the product monograph is approved by Health Canada and the drug product is issued Notice of Compliance.

Patient Material Code Revision

The scope of the code was expanded to include materials directed to patients through healthcare professionals. Standards relating to internet advertising were also added to the code.

Code Revision

Key issues were visited during this revision and update to the PAAB Code. Most notably was the issue of Prescribing Information. Prescribing Information includes important information that may be required for the optimal, safe and effective us of a drug product. Standards specific to digital advertising were incorporated into the code.

New Office

With the growing number of staff, The PAAB needed a larger space. In January of 2012, PAAB moved into our new and current office space at 300 -1305 Pickering Parkway. Early February The PAAB hosted an Open house for all its clients to view the new office.

Major Revision

Major revisions to the PAAB Code were implemented in 2013. These changes included a revamp of the evidence sections of the PAAB code. There was also a major update to the fair balance requirements. Fair balance is a term used to describe the presentation of risk information in a manner which is sufficient with respect to comprehensiveness and emphasis. The code was also revised to provide more specific guidance around digital tools such as websites, ipads, search engine optimization/marketing etc.

First independent system audit

The PAAB Board of Directors commissioned an independent audit of the PAAB reviews mechanism to assess overall operational performances and consistency within the review system. The audit was completed by Integrated Pharma Services. A summary of the results can be seen here.

40th Anniversary

PAAB celebrates 40 years of excellence delivering pre-clearance review in support of trustworthy healthcare product communications within the Canadian regulatory landscape.


Currently The PAAB sits at 21 staff members, 14 or which are Reviewers. In 2016, the team completed over 7,700 reviews. PAAB continues to progress. Stay in the know about the future by signing up to our newsletter, reading our newsletters in the resource section, and following us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Our Clients

Advertising Agencies

Agencies that have submitted advertising for PAAB review on behalf of the sponsoring pharmaceutical companies.


14eight Santé Numérique Inc

3H Communications

9345-1965 Quebec Inc


Anderson DDB Health & Lifestyle

Anderson DDB Sante Vie Esprit 

Antibody Healthcare Communications

Argyle Communications

Arrivals + Departures Communications Limited

Astellas Pharma Inc

Atlas Content Studio Inc

Attitude Marketing Inc.


Bang Albino inc

Baxter Corporation

Biotext Solutions Inc

Bloom Search Marketing

bMod Communications

Boiron Canada Inc

Boondoc Technologies Incorporated

Brest Consulting Inc

Brightworks Inter. Marketing

Business Alert


Cameron Stewart LifeScience Inc

Certo Creative Inc

Cine-Cast Inc

ClearMed Consulting and Communications Inc


Commix Communications Inc


CORE Health Communications Inc

CPC Healthcare Communications

Curatio Networks Inc


Elite Digital Inc

Ellington Group

eMotion Picture Studios


Enterprise de communications Tank inc

Evolus Inc


FCB Health Canada


FUSE Health Inc


Gallant Leaman Group

Glia Scientific Communication

Graphite Digital Ltd


Havas Life Toronto

Health 4 Brands

HealthPlexus Ltd.

Healthwise Creative Resource Group

Hill & Knowlton Strategies



Insig Corp

Integrated Medhealth Communication North America

IQ Inc.


John st


Klick Inc

Knight Labs Inc

KS Integrated Communications


Lara Holmes

Lemieux Bedard Communication

Lifestyle Hearing Corporation

LSD The Agency

Lyceum CME Inc


Marketing 4 Health Inc

Master Clinician Alliance

Maven Medical Marketing Inc

McCann Health

Media Platforms Inc

Meducom Health Inc


Murphy Paolucci Communications Inc


National Public Relations

No Fixed Address Inc


Ogilvy CommonHealth

Ogilvy Health

Oromo Digital Group Inc

Outpost 379 Inc


Pinnacle Marketing & Education

Proof Inc

Publicis Toronto, a division of Publicis Canada Inc


Ravenshow Creative Inc

RB Health (Canada) Inc

RedByrd Studio

RedNovius B.V.

Renegade Digital Media Inc

RevHealth LLC

Rich Media


SageRenegade Inc

Scientific Insights


SCURRY Communications

SenovvA Canada ULC

Sentrex Health Solutions Inc

Services Indegene Aptilion Inc

SFC Group, LLC

Small Dog Communications Inc

Solisco Printing Inc

STA Healthcare Communications

STI Technologies

Syneous Health Canada Inc


Tall Order Consulting

The AdPharm

The Gibson Group

The IDea Shoppe

Toc Toc Communications

Trois Prime Inc


Varibase Inc


Weber Shandwick

Healthcare Product Companies

Healthcare Product companies that have submitted advertising for PAAB review.


AbbVie Corporation

Alk-Abello Pharmaceuticals Inc

Allergan Canada

Amgen Canada Inc

Angita Pharma Inc.

Apotex Inc

AstraZeneca Canada Inc


Bausch Health (Canada) Inc

Bayer Inc

BioSyent Pharma Inc

Bristol Myers Squibb Canada


Catalytic Health


Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Canada Inc

Duchesnay Inc


Emergent BioSolutions Canada Inc


Ferring Inc


Gilead Sciences Canada



HLS Thereapeutics Inc.

Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd


Indivior Canada Ltd


JAMP Pharma Corporation

Janssen Inc

Jumo Health


Knight Therapeutics Inc

Kyowa Kirin Canada Inc.


Leo Pharma Inc


Mead Johnson Nutrition (Canada) Co

Merck Frosst Canada Ltd


Novartis Canada Inc

Novo Nordisk Canada Inc


Otsuka Canada Pharmaceutical


Paladin Labs Inc

Pfizer Global Pharmaceuticals

Pierre Fabre Dermo-Cosmetique Canada Inc

Pierrel Pharma S.R.L


RB Health Canada


Sandoz Canada Inc

Sanofi Pasteur Limited

Seagen Canada inc

Sterinova Inc

Sunovion Phamaceuticals Inc


Takeda Canada Inc


ViiV Healthcare ULC

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