Drug company accused of breaking regulations
The Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin has accused the drug company Novartis of breaching advertising regulations in its advertisement for pimecrolimus, a new cream for treating dermatitis (2003;41(5):33-6).
The bulletin was concerned that while the licence limited the use to patients aged 2 years or older, the recent advertisement shows a baby who looks younger than 2 years, implying that the cream could be used on babies below that age. The bulletin is consequently demanding that the drug's licence be withdrawn.
But a spokesman for Novartis, which markets the drug as Elidel, said that the child used in the advertisement was not younger than 2.
Dr Richard Chiswell, medical adviser to the company, said: “The boy used for the advertisement was actually 2 years and 5 months old.” But he admitted that the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency had recently drawn their attention to the fact that “the boy looks