The PAAB Code applies to all manufacturers irrespective of membership status with any trade association.

Misleading advertising is a contravention of the Food and Drugs Act. 


Section 9.1 of the F&DA:

No person shall label, package, treat, process, sell or advertise any drug in a manner that is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to create an erroneous impression regarding its character, value, quantity, composition, merit or safety.


Neither the Food and Drugs Act, nor the federal regulations that emanate from it, contain much information about how to structure an APS so as not to mislead. For HCP advertising, this is where the PAAB Code and corresponding guidances come in. It contains four categories of standards:

  1. Regulatory
  2. Therapeutic
  3. Scientific
  4. Ethical


Contravention of the standards pertaining to categories i-iii can cause the APS to be considered misleading and can therefore potentially put the APS in contravention of section 9.1 of the Food and Drugs Act. 


Contrary to marketing incidents identified through our monitoring activities, complaints from sources outlined in section 1.7.E and 1.7.F of the PAAB code are adjudicated by PAAB without regards to membership status with any trade association. Complaints are only referred to Health Canada if they relate to:

  • Safety allegations
  • Direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising
  • Advertising of unapproved products
  • Non-compliance with PAAB rulings

The complaint rulings are based on the PAAB Code.  It is unquestionably important for all advertisers to understand and to adhere to the standards of the PAAB Code of advertising. A registry of all Stage 2 complaints over the past several years is available HERE.

October 6, 2022



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