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.

Introduction to New Acting Commissioner

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:

Walter Rosser, MD


Gloria Bowes

Vice Chair

Lorenzo Biondi


Terry Cully

Association of Medical Advertising Agencies (AMAA)

Denis Morrice

Best Medicines Coalition

Jim Hall

Canadian Association of Medical Publishers (CAMP)

Tammy Quinn

Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA)

Jeff Connell

Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA)

Cecile Bensimon

Canadian Medical Association (CMA)

Crawford Wright

Innovative Medicines Canada

Agni Shah

Consumer Council of Canada

Kristin Willemsen

Consumer Health Products Canada (CHPC)

Anita Hammer






The Organization

Mission Target Icon

To deliver pre-clearance review services that support trustworthy health product communications that comply with the Canadian regulatory framework.


PAAB will be a world-class leader in supporting truthful advertising of health products.

Values Scales

Integrity, Competency, Credibility, Independence, Excellence, Transparency


The PAAB is an independent review agency whose primary role is to ensure that healthcare 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 healthcare 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.

PAAB’s Scope evolves with the regulatory framework.

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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PAAB Strategic Plan

PAAB 2017-2020 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

3M Canada

6 Degrees Integrated Communications


Abbvie Corporation

Actelion Pharmaceutical Canada Inc

Acequus Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc

Anderson DDB Health & Lifestyle

Anderson DDB Sante Vie Esprit 

Antibody Healthcare Communications

Aptus Health International Inc.

Aralez Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc

Ariad Healthcare


Bam Strategy  Precision Communications Group

Bang Albino inc

Biotext Solutions Inc.

bMod Communications

Brest Consulting Inc.

Brightworks Inter. Marketing


Cameron Stewart LifeScience Inc.

Can-Med Pharma

CDM Montreal Inc.

Certo Creative Inc.

Cine-Cast Inc.

ClearMed Consulting and Communications Inc.


CLS Services

Commix Communications Inc.

Consultants Chemin Robinson

Cookson James Loyalty Inc.

CORE Health Communications Inc.

CPC Healthcare Communications


Donna Morris Medical Writing


Edelman PR Worldwide

Elite Digital Inc.

Ellington Group

eMotion Picture Studios


Enterprise de communications Tank inc.

Environics Communications

Ethypharm Inc


FCB Health Canada

Fresenius Medical Care Canada

FUSE Health Inc.


Gallant Leaman Group

Glia Scientific Communication

Graphite Digital Ltd

Grip Limited

GroupM Canada Inc c/o Catlayst Search Marketing

Guiding Star Communications


Havas Life Toronto


Health 4 Brands

HealthConnect Inc.

Healthion Communications

HealthPlexus Ltd.

Healthwise Creative Resource Group

Hill & Knowlton Strategies

HIT Global Consulting Services Inc


InfoCraft Inc.

International Centre for Eviden-Based Medicine, Canada

inVentiv Canada, Inc.

IMS Health Canada Inc./IMS Sante Canada Inc.

Incipit Integrated Communications

InViVo Communications

IQ Inc.


Jeffrey Simbow Associates Inc.

john st.

Jumo Health



Klick Inc.

Knight Labs Inc.

K.S. Integrated Communications


Lara Holmes

Le Cabinet de relations publiques NATIONAL

Lemieux Bedard Communication

LSD The Agency

Lyceum CME Inc.


Maven Medical Marketing Inc

MacLean McCann Health

Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals

Mapi Life Sciences Canada Inc.

Marketing 4 Health Inc.

Mead Johnson Nutrition (Canada) Co.

Mechanisms In Medicine Inc.

Media Platforms Inc.

MediResource Inc

MedPlan Communications

Meducom Health Inc.


Murphy Paolucci Communications Inc.



Oasis Communications

Ogilvy CommonHealth

Ogilvy CommonHealth Montreal

Oromo Digital Group Inc.

Outpost 379 Inc


Peter MacMillan, Medical Copywriter



Pinnacle Marketing & Education

Publicis Toronto, a division of Publicis Canada Inc.


Renegade Digital Media Inc


Sagemedica Inc

Scientific Insights


SCURRY Communications

Services Indegene Aptilion Inc.

Small Dog Communications Inc

Snell Medical Communications

Solisco Printers

Spharma Inc

STA Healthcare Communications


Tamarind Healthcare Communications

Tangency Inc

Tank Communications

The AdPharm

The Exponential Exchange Group Inc.

The Gibson Group

The IDea Shoppe

Trois Prime Inc


Us Communications Inc.


Varibase Inc.


Weber Shandwick


Healthcare Product Companies

Healthcare Product companies that have submitted advertising for PAAB review.


AbbVie Corporation


Actelion Pharma Canada Inc.

Alcon Canada Inc

Alk-Abello Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Amgen Canada Inc

Amicus Therapeutics UK Ltd

ApoPharma Inc

Apotex Inc.

Astellas Pharma Canada Inc.

AstraZeneca Canada Inc.


Bayer Inc.

Boehringer Ingelheim Ltd.


CSL Behring Canada Inc.


Duchesnay Inc


Eli Lilly Canada Inc.

Ethypharm Inc


Ferring Inc.

Fresenius Medical Care Canada




Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd

Hope Pharmaceuticals Ltd.


iMD Health Corporation

Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Ipsen Limited

Indivior Canada Ltd


Janssen Inc.


Knight Therapeutics Inc



Mallinckrodt RP Canada Inc.

Medunik Canada

Merck Canada Ltd.

Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America Inc.


Novo Nordisk Canada Inc.


Octapharma Canada Inc.


Paladin Laboratories

Pierrel Pharma S.R.L.

Purdue Pharma



Servier Canada

STI Technologies Limited

Sunovion Phamaceuticals Inc.


Takeda Canada Inc.

Teva Canada Innovation



Vanc Pharmaceuticals Inc.

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