Advertising of pharmaceuticals, case II CSK 289/07

May 7th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

This case is a little bit old but I think it’s really worth mentioning to P.T. readers. The Supreme Court of the Republic of Poland decided a case regarding misleading advertising of pharmacetical products. The Court in its judgment of 2 October 2007, case act signature II CSK 289/07 ruled that assessment whether advertising can be deemed as misleading should refer to the model of the average recipient of this kind of advertising – the consumer of advertised products or services.

In this case, it was the average consumer of pharmaceuticals, to which advertising newspapers and leaflets were directed. As the Supreme Court noted in its judgment of 3 December 2003, case act signature I CK 358/02, the model of the average consumer, who is reasonably well informed and reasonably observant and circumspect, is now used widely adopted in the Republic of Poland as it is in the European Union.

However, the model of an average consumer could not be defined and considered in isolation from the conditions of this specific case and the realities concerning recipients of specific products to which the advertising is directed. Therefore, one could not ignore the fact that such consumers are often very ill persons, often with reduced capacity of perception and limited ability of reasonable and critical evaluation, as well as they are often elderly, which is also a significant group of consumers of medicines. These are typically the person more susceptible to suggestion and less critical. These people are targeted by pharmaceutical advertising and, while assessing the possibility of confusion, the characteristics of this kind of audience should be taken into account as a model of the average consumer.