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▼Yasmin advert withdrawn - when and how

Abstract

In April 2002, Schering Health Care launched its combined oral contraceptive (COC) pill ▼Yasmin in the UK with an advertising campaign that centred on claimed 'lifestyle' advantages of the product. In our August 2002 article 'Is ▼Yasmin a "truly different" pill?', we concluded that the company's claim that Yasmin is "the pill for wellbeing" was unjustified and misleading and should be withdrawn.1 We also argued that there was no compelling published evidence that Yasmin offered any advantages over other, longer-established, COCs with regards to weight gain, skin condition or premenstrual symptoms. In September, we received a letter from Schering's solicitors threatening to sue us for defamation on the grounds that "the article has damaged the reputation of Yasmin and the Company". In December, we learned that the company had withdrawn the advertising. Here, we summarise the events that led to the withdrawal. We also consider the weaknesses this episode reveals about current procedures for controlling medicines promotion in the UK.

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