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  1. James Cave, Editor-in-Chief
  1. The Downland Practice, Berkshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr James Cave, The Downland Practice, Berkshire, UK; jcave{at}

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In the UK, the promotion and advertising of prescription-only medicines (POMs) is tightly regulated by law with detailed guidance published in the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) Blue Guide.1 POMs can be promoted to healthcare professionals but must not be advertised to the general public. Any advertisement must present the medicine objectively ‘and without exaggerating its qualities’ and comply with the details listed in the summary of product characteristics. Reference material, factual informative statements or announcements are not considered to be adverts provided that they do not make a product claim and press releases should provide details of those for whom a drug may be suitable using language that is ‘factual and not sensationalised’.1 The guidance also makes it clear that anyone could …

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  • Competing interests None declared. Refer to the online supplementary files to view the ICMJE form(s).

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.