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Online Pharmacy certification debacle!

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# 1
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I have a client who has been successfully advertising HMRA licensed herbal medicines in the UK for some time. Just recently, they have had many of their ads disapproved due to the terms 'pharma' and 'pharmacy' on their landing pages. Whilst we can easily remove the word 'pharmacy' from their landing page (it says 'also available at Lloyds Pharmacy' by the way....), I've also been told that the problem is with their url which also contains the word 'pharma' - this is their trade name! I've been advised to apply for the online pharmacy certification, despite me pointing out that they are NOT an online pharmacy and they doNOT advertise prescription drugs, so are unlikely to be able to fulfil the necessary criteria to be certified in this way - so I really cant see this being approved. 

 

What really frustrates me is that they are a legitimate company selling approved herbal medicines that are some of the very few to comply with the UK government’s rigorous standards via the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), as traditional herbal medicinal products. They make NO claims on their site that are not allowed by the MHRA. Yet I am told that the policy team will not back down on this - and yes, I have been told that the site has been reviewed by a 'real person'.....

 

Apart from them changing their name, anyone got any ideas of a way forward?

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Re: Online Pharmacy certification debacle!

Top Contributor
# 2
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Hello
I have the "feeling" that the issue is not with online pharma certification, but rather with the content of the site , not fully complies with the healthcare section of the Policy;
Please share website URL - so we can have a look;
Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: Online Pharmacy certification debacle!

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# 3
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Hello Moshe

The website is www.schwabepharma.co.uk

Thanks for your interest

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Re: Online Pharmacy certification debacle!

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# 4
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As I suspected. Your this site sells food supplements not allowed by the healthcare and medicine" section of the Policy, claiming to be  "remedy effective"


>>"Google AdWords doesn't allow the promotion of the following pharmaceuticals and supplements, irrespective of any claims of legality:
Non-government approved or non-prescription products that are marketed in a way that implies that they're safe or effective for use in preventing, curing, or treating a particular disease or ailment


https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/176031?hl=en

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Re: Online Pharmacy certification debacle!

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# 5
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I understand what you are saying but these products are, in fact, government approved! They are registered under the 'Traditional Herbal Registration Scheme' as traditional herbal medicinal products - this scheme is administered by the UK government’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).......

Re: Online Pharmacy certification debacle!

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# 6
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I checked the MHRA web site and found that


Agency (MHRA) is responsible for the regulation of medicines and medical devices and equipment used in healthcare, and the investigation of harmful incidents. The MHRA also looks after blood and blood products, working with UK blood services, healthcare providers, and other relevant organisations to improve blood quality and safety.

http://www.mhra.gov.uk/Aboutus/Whatweregulate/index.htm

 

So, food supplements are not regulated in the UK to the same standard as  medicines. (Similar to other countries) and thus you cannot claim "remedy power / effectiveness"

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Re: Online Pharmacy certification debacle!

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# 7
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Surely the key to what you have said is that Google wont allow the promotion of supplements 'that are marketed in a way that implies that they're safe or effective for use in preventing, curing, or treating a particular disease or ailment' but this only applies if they are 'NON-GOVERNMENT APPROVED' - if they ARE Government approved, surely any claims of remedy power/effectiveness are not the issue?

Re: Online Pharmacy certification debacle!

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# 8
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Also, there are plenty of other large legitimate companies promoting the same product via AdWords - see http://www.healthspan.co.uk/products/echinacea-cold-flu-relief or http://www.naturesbest.co.uk/echinacea-cold-and-flu-relief-tablets-p102/ or http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/pages/product_detail.asp?pid=1421&prodid=1331&cid=16) using exactly the same wording (MHRA specified wording...) with no problems?

Re: Online Pharmacy certification debacle!

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# 9
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Please re-read my earlier answer . MHRA does not approve food supplements -
As for your second question: you can fill in the following form : Google will check any apparent violation. (Though, in my view they are implying a cure.)
https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/176378?hl=en
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Re: Online Pharmacy certification debacle!

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# 10
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I beg to differ but in this case they do! The MHRA regulates what are classed as 'Traditional Herbal Medicines' under the Traditional Herbal Registration Scheme - see http://www.mhra.gov.uk/Howweregulate/Medicines/Herbalmedicinesregulation/RegisteredTraditionalHerbal... - Schwabe are licensed under this scheme....