The warning comes in light of an enforcement notice from the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), to tackle the unlawful advertising of botulinum toxin injections on social media.
Botulinum toxin injections are prescription only medicines and cannot be advertised to the public, including when they are to be administered by a registered healthcare professional.
The ASA has issued guidance to those advertising such treatments on social media to give them time to make changes needed. It warns: 'After Friday 31st January, we will take targeted enforcement action using monitoring technology to automatically find problem posts for removal.' DDU is reminding dental professionals that the restrictions on prescription only medicines apply to all forms of advertising, such as practice websites, posters and leaflets.
The ASA guidance makes clear that there can be no direct references to a prescription only medicine or treatment, including brand names, generic names, images, hashtags or indirect references such as anti-wrinkle injections'.
John Makin, head of the DDU said:
'While the ASA campaign focuses on advertising botulinum toxin injections on social media, the DDU's advice is that dental professionals review all their promotional material including practice websites and leaflets to ensure they comply with the CAP rules, ASA guidance, ethical standards and the law.
'The ASA can take enforcement action for anyone failing to comply with its guidance which could include referral to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) or to the GDC. As a result, it's vital that dental professionals urgently review their advertising materials to ensure compliance.'
The DDU pointed out that Standard 1.7 of the GDC's Standards for the Dental Team states that, 'You must put patients' interests before your own or those of any colleague, business or organisation,' and that, 'You must always put your patients' interests before any financial, personal or other gain.' The GDC also has guidance on advertising which sets out what is expected of registrants.
This page was correct at publication on 14/01/2020. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.