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Advertisers for pharmacy and health care products and services must follow all applicable regulatory policies and local laws, including maintaining up-to-date certification for the markets in which they advertise, as applicable. See below for policy details as well as requirements specific to your market.

Pharmacy and prescription-only medicines

Microsoft’s policy on pharmaceutical products varies by market. Microsoft Advertising restricts/limits the promotion of prescription-only drugs — these are medications that must be authorized by an approved medical professional, as opposed to over-the-counter (OTC) medications.

  • Advertisers may not bid on keywords relating to prescription-only medications, including prescription medications for animals, unless they are properly certified in the market they are serving.
  • Advertising for prescription medication is not allowed unless otherwise noted.
Cross-border advertising for Europe:
   Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden
  • Pharmacies located within the EU or EEC, may advertise in these countries if they are registered with their relevant local medicinal product authority and comply with all regulatory requirements and local laws for the country where they are advertising.
France
  • Pharmacies located within the EU/EEC, but outside France, must be authorized or otherwise registered by the ANSM.
Germany
  • Pharmacies located within one of the EU/EEC countries listed here, must be registered with their relevant local medicinal product authority.
    • Pharmacies in countries not listed here must be licensed within Germany.
See additional details for markets below.
Please consult specific markets for exceptions.
Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States

Austria

  • Austrian pharmacies and their websites must meet applicable requirements (including the use of the approved logo and a direct link to the authority’s website, etc.) to advertise and sell OTC medication online. 

Belgium

  • Pharmacies must notify the Federal agency for medication and health products 30 days prior to advertising an OTC medication.
  • Pharmacies must be registered with their federal agency to sell the pharmaceutical products advertised.

Canada

  • Online pharmacies, including pet pharmacies, that advertise prescription drugs to customers in Canada must be accredited by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) or LegitScript.
  • Manufacturers are not required to have certification to advertise, as long as they do not sell their prescription medicines online.
  • Ads that market to customers outside of Canada are not allowed.

Denmark

  • Danish pharmacies website must comply with applicable requirements to advertise and sell OTC medication online.

Finland

  • Advertisers must comply with the marketing provisions of the Finnish Medicines Act to advertise and sell OTC medication.

France

  • Advertisers must be registered with the ANSM to advertise and sell OTC medication online.
    • Advertisers are expected to comply with the charter published by ANSM.
  • Advertising for prescription contact lenses must comply with the French Health Code.

Germany

  • Advertising for OTC medication that contains psychotropic or narcotic substances is not allowed.
  • Advertising medications for sale requires a license to sell the medication from the respective local German supervisory authority.

India

  • Microsoft requires advertisers targeting India who sell or facilitate the online sale of prescription-only medicines or prescription veterinary medicines to ensure they comply with all local laws.
  • Advertisers may not bid on keywords that relate to prescription-only medicines.
  • Ad copy must not promote the sale of prescription-only medicines.

Italy

  • Advertising for OTC medication that contains psychotropic or narcotic substances is not allowed.
  • Pharmacies must be on the register by the Ministry of Health and obtain prior authorization from the Ministry of Health to advertise OTC medication if it will be sold online.

The Netherlands

  • Advertising for OTC medication is allowed if the medication has already been granted marketing authorization.
  • Advertising for OTC medication that contains psychotropic or narcotic substances is not allowed.

Norway

  • Advertising that include prices and discounts which may promote random purchases of medication are not permitted, such as "2 for 1" for example.
  • Reminder advertising such as "you have something in your cart" is not allowed.

Republic of Ireland

  • Microsoft does not allow advertising for the online sale of prescription-only medication. This applies to all online pharmacies, including pet pharmacies.
  • Manufacturers are allowed to advertise, as long as they do not sell their prescription medicines online.

Sweden

  • Advertising for OTC medication must be carried out in accordance with fair trade and good marketing practices.

Switzerland

  • Advertising can only include information in accordance with the drug information last approved by Swissmedic.

United Kingdom

  • Online pharmacies must be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council. For more information, please see the website for the General Pharmaceutical Council.
  • Ad copy must not promote the sale of prescription only medicines.Providers of prescription eye glasses must be registered with the General Optical Council.
  • Advertisements for veterinary online pharmacies are allowed if they are registered with any of the following:
    • The General Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain
    • The Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland
    • The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland
    • The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
    • The Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority (AMTRA)
    • The Veterinary Medicines Directorate

United States

  • Online pharmacies, including pet pharmacies, that advertise prescription drugs to customers in the United States must be accredited by the National Association Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) or LegitScript.
  • Manufacturers are not required to have certification to advertise, as long as they do not sell their prescription medicines online.
  • Ads that market to customers outside the U.S. and U.S. territories are not allowed.
 

For more information, please see the following websites:

Drug and alcohol addiction recovery

United States


Advertisers who advertise drug or alcohol addiction services such as rehab facilities, group therapy, sober living facilities, halfway houses or other similar offerings must be certified by LegitScript*.
  • Landing pages and any URLs utilized in the ad must be certified.
  • Lead generation ads are not allowed.
*For information on becoming certified, please visit LegitScript's website.

Health care products and services

Advertisers promoting health care services and health or wellness products must ensure that they comply with all applicable regulatory policies and local laws.
 

Non-prescription medications and health supplements

Microsoft restricts advertising for any supplement where there is reason to believe that the product could present significant health risks to a user. For example, advertising is not allowed for the following products:
  • Ephedra, ephedrine products, and ephedra-based or ma huang supplements.
  • Herbal supplements that mimic the effect of illegal substances.
  • Non-approved HIV home test kits.
For more examples, please see our non-exhaustive list of Disapproved Healthcare Products and Supplements.

Approved example Approved

Get Multi-Vitamins
www.contoso.com
Not getting enough veggies?
Get some Multi-Vitamins.

Disapproved exampleDisapproved

Get High?
www.contoso.com
Try this unregulated
herbal supplement!

Policy

Advertising supplement where there is reason to believe the product could present significant health risks to a user is not allowed.
Please consult specific markets for exceptions.
Australia, Brazil, Europe, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, Singapore, Thailand, United Kingdom

Australia, New Zealand

Products may not claim to cure, treat, or prevent disease unless they are registered as medicines with the appropriate organization in the market where they are promoted.
 

Brazil

  • All supplements, cosmetics, vitamins, homeopathic, and other health care products must be registered with the Federal Sanitation Agency (ANVISA). Approved advertisers must be in possession of all the required registrations and comply with all ANVISA and other applicable requirements.
  • We reserve the right to verify compliance with local requirements and exclude non-compliant advertisers from the program.
  • The advertisement must fairly represent the quality and purpose of the product, as registered and approved by the local regulatory authorities.
  • Advertisements for witchdoctors, magical potions and treatments, and miracle cures of any kind are disallowed.

Europe

Advertising of Lipostabil is disallowed.
 

Hong Kong

  • All advertised pharmacies must be registered with the Drug Office of the Department of Health.
  • Advertisers must comply with the Undesirable Medical Advertising Ordinance.
  • Advertising related to specific diseases, conditions, and health claims is restricted.
  • Unregistered pharmaceutical products may not be advertised.

India

Advertising for the treatment of diseases and miracle cures is restricted. Ads must not feature claims to prevent or cure common conditions or diseases or health ailments of humans and animals.
 

Indonesia

Advertising for over the counter medicines, cosmetics, non-prescription health care products, and traditional medicines is not permitted.
 

Italy

Advertising for herbal remedies, herbal sleep aids, or herbal diet pills is restricted. It is the advertiser`s responsibility to comply with applicable regulations and best practices.


Malaysia

  • Ads by health care practitioners are restricted to the name, field of practice, and place of practice of the practitioner.
  • Advertisements by private health care facilities are restricted to general information such as the name, location, contact information, working hours, types of facilities and charges imposed by the private health care facility.
  • Testimonials from patients are prohibited.

Philippines

  • Advertising for non-prescription medicine must comply with applicable regulations, including proper marketing authorization issued for the non-prescription medicine advertised, and valid license to operate held by the drug company.
  • Medical professionals may not promote, advertise or endorse any medication.
  • A disclaimer of “No Approved Therapeutic Claim” must appear on the advertisements for food and dietary supplements.

Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom

Advertisers may offer vitamins, minerals and food supplements to help maintain good health. Advertisers must ensure that their advertising does not:
  • Discourage essential treatment of health problems.
  • Offer specific advice, diagnosis, or treatment for serious or prolonged conditions (such as diabetes, cancer, or heart disease), unless given by a doctor or a qualified health professional.
  • Imply that vitamins, minerals or supplements can prevent or treat illness, elevate mood, or enhance performance.
  • Claim that a vitamin, mineral or any other food supplement is beneficial to health without substantiating the claim with scientific evidence displayed on the website.
  • Contradict the fact that a well-balanced diet should provide the vitamins and minerals needed by a normal healthy individual. Advertisers cannot encourage consumers to swap a healthy diet for supplementation.
  • Imply that there is widespread vitamin or mineral deficiency or that it is necessary to augment a well-balanced diet.
  • Describe products as safe or effective simply because they are "natural" or because the description omits an ingredient in common use.
  • Claim that over-the-counter (OTC) medicines or legal herbal supplements are better than any other product or that using or avoiding a product will affect normal good health.
  • Offer homeopathic medicines that are not approved in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Singapore

  • Ads may not promote treatments or cures for diseases.
  • Advertising for traditional and alternative medications is prohibited.

Thailand

Ads for non-prescription medications must comply with applicable regulations, including displaying the approval number for the medicine on the website.

Invasive treatments and cosmetic surgery

In some markets, surgically invasive procedures or treatments are regulated.
 

Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom

  • Advertisers that offer invasive surgery must have relevant and recognized qualifications.
  • Advertisers for physically invasive treatments must encourage consumers to seek independent medical advice before committing themselves to the treatment.

Spain

  • Advertisers that offer invasive cosmetic surgery must have proper authorization.

Weight loss

  • Advertising for weight control cannot be aimed at children.
  • Advertising must not claim that a user will lose weight without changing any of their habits.
  • Claims of results must be realistic and obtainable.
  • Advertising for weight loss medications and other products that are listed as prescription medicines must comply with the editorial policy for prescription-only medicines.

Approved example Approved

Let’s Lose Weight
www.contoso.com
We will teach you to eat right
and lose weight healthily!

Disapproved exampleDisapproved

Weight Loss Easy
www.contoso.com
Try our prescription pill and
lose all the weight you want. Easy!

Policy

Advertising for weight loss medications and other products that are listed as prescription medicines must comply with the editorial policy for prescription-only medicines.

Approved example Approved

Weight Loss Program
www.contoso.com
Combined with healthy
eating, our program will
help you lose weight!

Disapproved exampleDisapproved

Easy Weight Loss
www.contoso.com
You will lose a lot of weight
on our program without
changing your diet!

Policy

Advertising must not claim that a user will lose weight without changing any of their habits.

Approved example Approved

Weight Loss Program
www.contoso.com
Lose a pound a week on our program!

Disapproved exampleDisapproved

Weight Loss Program
www.contoso.com
Lose a pound a day on our program!

Policy

Claims of results must be realistic and obtainable.

Republic of Ireland, Spain, United Kingdom

  • Weight reduction methods must be backed by rigorous trials on people.
  • Diet plans must be nutritionally well-balanced.
  • Intensive exercise programs must encourage users to consult a doctor before starting.
  • Diet plans, weight reduction methods, or diet aids must not be aimed at people under 18.
  • Websites must not suggest that it is desirable to be underweight or that stopping eating is a recommended method to lose weight.
  • Diet aids content must not suggest that consumers cannot fail or that they can eat as much as they like and still lose weight.

Family planning

In some markets, regulatory restrictions exist for certain types of family planning products and services.

Product or service

Abortion

Market disallowed

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Ireland, Singapore, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Venezuela, Vietnam
Surrogacy
Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, France, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Venezuela
Egg and sperm donation
France
Paternity test
France, India
Pregnancy test
France
Prenatal sex determination
India: As required per PC-PNDT Act and the order of the Supreme Court of India dated 28th February 2015 (download the court ruling).
Morning after pills
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Taiwan, Venezuela