3 Apr 2009

Drug company ad raises ire of Health Commissioner

3:10 pm on 3 April 2009

An advertisement for one of the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies has raised the ire of the Health and Disability Commissioner.

Magazine and website advertisements published last year for GlaxoSmithKline stated people had the right to insist on a particular medication.

Commissioner Ron Paterson says the advertising cited its code of Consumer Rights as an authority for that proposition.

Mr Paterson says there is no such right and the advertising is misleading for patients and potentially damaging for the doctor-patient relationship.

He says a patient has the right to information to make an informed choice, but is not entitled to insist on being prescribed or dispensed a particular medicine.

The commission complained to the Advertising Standards Authority.

GlaxoSmithKline says the ads were misinterpreted, but conceded it should have consulted with the commission.

The authority has ruled the complaint settled as the adverts have now been removed.