Medicine advertisement vs. quakery advertisement

Medicine advertisement vs. quakery ingress

The goal of this assignment is to learn the differences between medicine and dietary supplements and to learn how to assess the reliability of information presented in advertisements for dietary supplements.

Medicine advertisement vs. quakery

Progress of the assignment

Phase 1.

The pupils familiarise themselves with the sections of the Medicines Education Portal relevant to the topic, and the teacher tells them about the differences between dietary supplements and medicine.

Phase 2.

The assignment alternatives can also progress in phases.

Alternative 1. The pupils and the teacher clip off an advertisement for a medicine or an advertisement in a natural product store's magazine and bring it to class. Discuss the advertisements together. What kind of advertisements were found? What information do they contain? What is the information in the advertisements based on? What kind of promises are given in the advertisements? Is the information reliable?

In Finland the advertising of medicine is strictly regulated by law. The information presented in medicine advertisements is based on the medicine's summary of product characteristics approved in connection with the granting of the marketing authorisation.

In Finland, the advertising of medicine is monitored by both the Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea and the pharmaceutical industry's own Supervisory Commission for the Marketing of Medicinal Products. There are no corresponding regulations that apply to the advertising of dietary supplements.

Alternative 2. During art class, the pupils design and draw a medicine and/or quackery advertisement.

Alternative 3. The pupils design a medicine or quackery advertisement for television and present it in class.

Alternative 4. Write an essay reflecting on the topic.


Phase 1.: The table on the differences between medicines and dietary supplements (pdf)

Phase 2.: The essay subjects (pdf)

Further information

Information on prescription and over-the-counter medicines and adverse reactions to medicine is found in a summarised format on the "What is medicine?" section of the "Basic information on medicine" page.

On the Fimea website:
Advertising of medicinal products 
Summaries of Product Characteristics (SmPC) and Package Leaflets (PL)

On the Finnish Food Authority website:
Information on the marketing of foodstuffs (in Finnish)
Nutrition and health claims

The website of the Pharma Industry Finland contains information about the voluntary control of, and the Code of Ethics for, pharmaceutical marketing.
Pharma Industry Finland