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)





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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healthcare professionals

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


Abbott & Associates

Actelion Pharmaceutical Canada Inc

Anderson DDB Health & Lifestyle

Antibody Healthcare Communications

Ariad Healthcare

Art of Medicine

Aspen Pharmacare Canada Inc.

AXON Communications Inc


Bang Albino Inc.

Biotext Solutions Inc.

Bloom Search Marketing Inc

bMod Communications

Brand Health Communications

Brest Consulting Inc.

Brightworks Inter. Marketing


Cameron Stewart LifeScience Inc.

Cardiome Pharma Corp


CDM Montreal Inc.

Cine-Cast Inc.

Clear Med Consulting & Communications Inc

Commotion Communications

Communimed Inc.

Consultants Chemin Robinson

Cookson James Loyalty Inc.

CORE Health Communications Inc.

Corporation Groupe PharmEssor

CPC Healthcare Communications

Creative Image


Donna Morris Medical Writing


Edelman PR Worldwide

Ellington Group

Energi PR

Environics Communications

Ethical Remedies

Ethypharm Inc


FCB Health Canada

Fresenius Medical Care Canada

FUSE Health Inc.


Galderma Canada

Gallant Leaman Group

GCI Group

Glia Scientific Communication

Grip Limited

GroupM Canada Inc c/o Catlayst Search Marketing

GSW Worldwide

Guiding Star Communications


Havas Life Toronto


Health 4 Brands

HealthConnect Inc.

Healthion Communications

Healthwise Creative Resource Group

Hill & Knowlton Strategies

Human Care Systems

HZNP Canada Ltd


IMS Health Canada Inc. /IMS Santé Canada Inc.

InfoCraft Inc.

International Centre for Eviden-Based Medicine, Canada

IMS Health Canada Inc./IMS Sante Canada Inc.

Incipit Integrated Communications

InViVo Communications

IQ Inc.


Jeffrey Simbow Associates Inc.

john st.

Jumo Health

Juniper park/TBWA



Klick Inc.

K.S. Integrated Communications


Lara Holmes

Legitmed Inc

Lemieux Bedard Communication

Loft Communications + Events Inc

LSD The Agency

Lyfe on Mars


Maven Medical Marketing Inc

MacLean McCann Health

Mapi Life Sciences Canada Inc.

McCann Complete Medical Canada Ltd.

McCann Pharmacy Initiative

Mechanisms In Medicine Inc.

Media Platforms Inc.

MediResource Inc

MedPlan Communications

Meducom Health Inc.


Milennium Medical Education Resources Ltd

Murphy Paolucci Communications Inc.


NATIONAL Public Relations


Oasis Communications

Ogilvy CommonHealth

OKD Marketing


Parkhurst PublishingPaul G Richard and Associates



Pinnacle Marketing & Education

Publicis Toronto, a division of Publicis Canada Inc.


Ravenshoe Group

Regina K

Renegade Digital Media Inc

Rogers Media Publishing


Sagemedica Inc

Sampling Technologies Inc.

Scientific Insights


Searchlight Pharma Inc.

Self Care Catalysts Inc

Services Indegene Aptilion Inc.

Small Dog Communications Inc

Snell Medical Communications

Solisco Printers

Spharma Inc

STA Communications Ontario

STA Healthcare Communications

Stallergenes Canada Inc


Tall Order Consulting

Tamarind Healthcare Communications

Tangency Inc

Tank Communications

The AdPharm

The Gibson Group

The IDea Shoppe

The Rounds

Toc Toc Communications

Trois Prime Inc


Us Communications Inc.


Varibase Inc.

Vosburgh Creative


Weber Shandwick

Wright Ideas Inc


Zone Franche Inc

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

Allergan Canada

Almirall Ltd.

Alveda Pharmaceuticals

ApoPharma Inc

Apotex Inc.

Aspen Pharmacare Canada Inc.

Astellas Pharma Canada Inc.

AstraZeneca Canada Inc.


Bausch & Lomb Canada Inc.

Baxalta Canada Corp.

Baxter Corp.

Bayer Inc.

Biogen Canada

BioSyent Pharma Inc.

Boehringer Ingelheim Ltd.

BMS Canada


Celgene Inc (Canada)


Duchesnay Inc


Eisai Limited

Eli Lilly Canada Inc.

EMD Serono

Ethical Remedies

Ethypharm Inc


Ferring Inc.

Fresenius Kabi


Galderma Canada

Genzyme Canada Inc.

Gilead Science Canada



Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd

Hope Pharmaceuticals Ltd.


iMD Health Corporation

Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Ipsen Limited


Janssen Inc.

Johnson & Johnson Inc.


Knight Therapeutics Inc


Laboratories Lehning

Leo Pharma Inc.

Lundbeck Canada

Lupin Pharma Canada


McNeil Consumer Products

Meda Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

Medunik Canada

Merck Canada Ltd.

Merz Pharma Canada Ltd.

Mylan Pharmaceuticals ULC


Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.

Novo Nordisk Canada Inc.


Octapharma Canada Inc.

Otsuka Canada Pharmaceutical


Paladin Laboratories



Pfizer Canada Inc.

Pierrel Pharma S.R.L.

Purdue Pharma


Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Recordati Rare Diseases Inc.


Sandoz Canada Inc.

Sanofi Pasteur

Sanofi-Aventis Canada Inc.

Searchlight Pharma Inc.

Seattle Genetics Inc.

Servier Canada

Shire Canada Inc.

Shoppers Drug Mart

Sobi Canada Inc

Stallergenes Canada Inc.

STI Technologies Limited

Sunovion Phamaceuticals Inc.

Sunstar Americas Inc


Takeda Canada Inc.

Teva Canada Innovation

Theretechnologies Inc.

Tribute Pharmaceuticals


UCB Canada Inc


Valeo Pharma Inc.

Valneva Canada Inc.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.

ViiV Healthcare

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