Advertisements and promotions of medical devices

It is the responsibility of the advertiser to ensure compliance with legislation and guidelines for advertisements and promotions of medical devices.

What is an advertisement

"Advertisement" refers to the publication, dissemination or conveyance of any information for the purpose of promotion, and the sale or use of the medical device by any means or in any form, including the following:

  • Publication in a newspaper, magazine, journal or other periodical
  • Display of posters or notices
  • Circulars, brochures, pamphlets, books
  • Letters address to individuals or organisational bodies
  • Photographs or films
  • Sound broadcasting, television, the internet and other media sources
  • Public demonstration of the use of the health product
  • Offer of trials of the health product to members of the public
  • Door to door sales
  • Exhibitions
  • Competitions
  • Any other activity intended to introduce, publicise or raise the profile or public awareness or visibility of any medical device for the purpose of promoting the sale or use of it

Advertisement prohibitions

Advertisements on registered "professional use only" medical devices are not allowed, unless the advertisement is distributed only to, or contained in, a publication intended to be circulated to qualified practitioners.

Advertising to the general public that claim, indicate or suggest that the medical device will prevent, alleviate or cure any of the following diseases or conditions is not allowed:

  • Blindness
  • Cancer
  • Cataract
  • Drug addiction
  • Deafness
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy or fits
  • Hypertension
  • Insanity
  • Kidney diseases
  • Leprosy
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Paralysis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Sexual functions
  • Infertility
  • Impotence
  • Frigidity
  • Conception and pregnancy

General principles of advertisements

General principles Details
Truthfulness

Advertisements should:

  • Truthfully state the nature, quality and properties of the medical device
  • Not mislead in any way by ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise
  • Not include unqualified superlatives
Substantiation All claims made in the advertisement must be substantiated with scientific studies.
Accuracy Recommendations relating to the use of the medical device should be accurately stated in moderate terms and should be relevant to their properties.
Comparisons Advertisements should not contain comparisons with other products unless scientifically proven. All comparative advertisements should be presented clearly and fairly, without criticising other products.
Indiscriminate use Advertisements should not directly or indirectly encourage indiscriminate, unnecessary or excessive use of the medical device.
Use of scientific data Advertisements should not exploit public ignorance by including unverifiable scientific data. Avoid the misuse of research results and unnecessary quotations from technical and scientific publications.
Fear and superstition Advertisements should not arouse fear in the minds of the public nor should they exploit the public's superstition

Language

Medical advertisements should be in simple to understand language and avoid confusing jargon.
Endorsements and testimonials from healthcare professionals Advertisements should not carry testimonials or recommendations by healthcare professionals.

User testimonials

Testimonials featured in advertisements should reflect:

  • The typical experience of an average user of the medical device
  • The medical device's intended purpose
  • That testimonials based on fictitious characters are not framed to give the impression that real people are involved.
Logos, initials and trademarks

Advertisements should not make use of:

  • Initials, logos and/or trade service marks of any firm, company or institution without prior written permission
  • HSA's name and logo
  • The names and logos of any professional groups linked to HSA
Guaranteed There should not be any claim or implication that the medical device is infallible, unfailing, magical, miraculous, or that it is a certain, guaranteed or sure cure.
Claims of safety There should not be any claim or implication that the medical device is 100% safe, has no side effects and that their use will not cause harm.
Discourage from medical advice Advertisements should not in any way discourage the public from seeking the advice of a medical professional.
Conformance with SCAP

All medical advertisements must also comply with the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice (SCAP) administered by the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS).

Refer to this reference list of acceptable product claims (Appendix A)301 KB for Class A medical devices.

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