On December 20, 2017, the Italian Ministry of Health has issued interesting guidelines on medical device advertisement to the general public, which you can download here (scroll to the bottom of the page).
The new rules describe DOs and DONTs in advertisement on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook and offer interesting indications on the use of a celebrity in the ads.
The basic principle remains the same: advertisement of medical devices that are subject to medical prescription (or may be used only with the assistance of medical personnel) is prohibited by Italian law. When allowed, advertisement of medical devices to the public is subject to authorization by the Ministry of Health.
Take our medical device advertisement quiz to check if you know (or can guess!) what’s new in the guidelines!
- Can a doctor recommend a medical device in an advertisement to the general public?
No, the Ministry of Health will not authorize such advertisement.
- What about a celebrity appearing in an advertisement message?
While the mere presence of such individual may be tolerated, no express or implied endorsement of the medical device will be authorized.
- Can authorized medical advertisement be shared through Instagram?
Yes, but only in the “Stories” section and if users’ comments are de-activated.
- What about Facebook?
As comments cannot be de-activated, a special disclaimer must be used in order to clarify that the Ministry of Health authorization of advertisement solely covers advertisement, while any further comments are the responsibility of users.
- Is a medical device company allowed to email advertisement to patients?
Yes, but only if the Ministry of Health has authorized the advertisement and if the patient has expressed his/her consent (always revocable).