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.
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 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
Association of Medical Advertising Agencies (AMAA)
Best Medicines Coalition
Canadian Association of Medical Publishers (CAMP)
Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA)
Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA)
Canadian Medical Association (CMA)
Innovative Medicines Canada
Consumer Council of Canada
Consumer Health Products Canada (CHPC)
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.
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.
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.
Rigorous independent review to help ensure promotional materials are balanced, accurate, complete, and trustworthy
Confidence that patient receive accurate and balanced information about their products and diseases
Assurance of a level and compliant playing field for the industry.
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
A little under a year into its existence, The PAAB had 2 staff and reviewed about 400 submissions.
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).
The code was updated to include additional provisions which were specific to direct mail and service aids.
The code was revised to specify mandatory preclearance of detail aids and electronic material.
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
The scope of The PAAB preclearance review was expanded to include opinions of DTCRx advertising and information
A complete rewrite of the code with the addition of explanatory notes to elaborate on the code standards
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”
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Agencies that have submitted advertising for PAAB review on behalf of the sponsoring pharmaceutical companies.
14eight Santé Numérique Inc
6 Degrees Integrated Communications
Abbott & Associates
Actelion Pharmaceutical Canada Inc
Anderson DDB Health & Lifestyle
Antibody Healthcare Communications
Art of Medicine
Aspen Pharmacare Canada Inc.
AXON Communications Inc
Bang Albino Inc.
Biotext Solutions Inc.
Bloom Search Marketing Inc
Brand Health Communications
Brest Consulting Inc.
Brightworks Inter. Marketing
Cameron Stewart LifeScience Inc.
Cardiome Pharma Corp
CDM Montreal Inc.
Clear Med Consulting & Communications Inc
Consultants Chemin Robinson
Cookson James Loyalty Inc.
CORE Health Communications Inc.
Corporation Groupe PharmEssor
CPC Healthcare Communications
Donna Morris Medical Writing
Edelman PR Worldwide
FCB Health Canada
Fresenius Medical Care Canada
FUSE Health Inc.
Gallant Leaman Group
Glia Scientific Communication
GroupM Canada Inc c/o Catlayst Search Marketing
Guiding Star Communications
Havas Life Toronto
Health 4 Brands
Healthwise Creative Resource Group
Hill & Knowlton Strategies
Human Care Systems
HZNP Canada Ltd
IMS Health Canada Inc. /IMS Santé Canada Inc.
International Centre for Eviden-Based Medicine, Canada
IMS Health Canada Inc./IMS Sante Canada Inc.
Incipit Integrated Communications
Jeffrey Simbow Associates Inc.
K.S. Integrated Communications
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.
Meducom Health Inc.
Milennium Medical Education Resources Ltd
Murphy Paolucci Communications Inc.
NATIONAL Public Relations
Parkhurst PublishingPaul G Richard and Associates
Pinnacle Marketing & Education
Publicis Toronto, a division of Publicis Canada Inc.
Renegade Digital Media Inc
Rogers Media Publishing
Sampling Technologies Inc.
Searchlight Pharma Inc.
Self Care Catalysts Inc
Services Indegene Aptilion Inc.
Small Dog Communications Inc
Snell Medical Communications
STA Communications Ontario
STA Healthcare Communications
Stallergenes Canada Inc
Tall Order Consulting
Tamarind Healthcare Communications
The Gibson Group
The IDea Shoppe
Toc Toc Communications
Trois Prime Inc
Us Communications Inc.
Wright Ideas Inc
Zone Franche Inc
Healthcare Product companies that have submitted advertising for PAAB review.
Actelion Pharma Canada Inc.
Alcon Canada Inc
Alk-Abello Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Amgen Canada Inc
Aspen Pharmacare Canada Inc.
Astellas Pharma Canada Inc.
AstraZeneca Canada Inc.
Bausch & Lomb Canada Inc.
Baxalta Canada Corp.
BioSyent Pharma Inc.
Boehringer Ingelheim Ltd.
Celgene Inc (Canada)
Eli Lilly Canada Inc.
Genzyme Canada Inc.
Gilead Science Canada
Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd
Hope Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
iMD Health Corporation
Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Johnson & Johnson Inc.
Knight Therapeutics Inc
Leo Pharma Inc.
Lupin Pharma Canada
McNeil Consumer Products
Meda Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
Merck Canada Ltd.
Merz Pharma Canada Ltd.
Mylan Pharmaceuticals ULC
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.
Novo Nordisk Canada Inc.
Octapharma Canada Inc.
Otsuka Canada Pharmaceutical
Pfizer Canada Inc.
Pierrel Pharma S.R.L.
Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Recordati Rare Diseases Inc.
Sandoz Canada Inc.
Sanofi-Aventis Canada Inc.
Searchlight Pharma Inc.
Seattle Genetics Inc.
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
UCB Canada Inc
Valeo Pharma Inc.
Valneva Canada Inc.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.