Media operators and advertising agencies from professional associations support the new amendment to the Pharmaceuticals Act, which will be voted on at the plenary session of the Chamber of Deputies on Friday and which proposes to repeal the latest amendment to the Act on Regulation of Advertising. In the last year, the Act on Regulation of Advertising was amended as a rider to the Pharmaceuticals Act. The responsibility for the compliance of advertising content with the law was extended to the broadcasters and it concerns selected types of product – medicinal products for human use, food supplements and foodstuffs intended for particular nutritional uses and for infant nutrition. Until then, it had only been the subjects, which had helped create the advertising content, who had been responsible for the compliance of advertising of such products with the law, as is the case with other types of products. The amendment seeks to return to the original form of the Act on Regulation of Advertising.
The problematic amendment, which introduced the joint liability of the disseminator of advertising for the compliance of the advertising content (medicinal products for human use, food supplements and foodstuffs intended for particular nutritional uses and for infant nutrition) with the law, has been effective since April 2017. The amendment has not contributed to increasing the level of consumer protection. Instead, it has proved to be easily misused in the competitive fight among the producers of the products concerned. In the spring of last year, the entire media sector warned that extending the responsibility for the compliance of advertising content with the law to the disseminator of advertising could not contribute to increasing the level of consumer protection. The reason for this is that the advertisers do not have any professional qualification or legal tools to gather the necessary background information that would help them professionally assess, for instance, whether the advertised product actually strengthens one’s immune system or not.
“Media operators understand that the aim of the amendment was to provide greater consumer protection but transferring responsibility to the advertiser is not the right way to do so. Consumer protection can only be enhanced by effective enforcement of legal obligations of advertisers. We hope that the legislators will understand this and that they will support the amendment, which will return the text of the law on regulation of advertising to its original form. We also hope that they will reject the current amendment to the Act as non-conceptual and non-systemic,” commented Ján Simkanič, Chairman of the Executive Board from The Association for Internet Progress (SPIR).