Regulating Direct-to-Consumer Drug Information: A Case Study of Eli Lilly’s Canadian 40over40 Erectile Dysfunction Campaign


Like most jurisdictions, Canada prohibits direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescribed drugs. However, direct-to-consumer information (DTCI) is permitted, allowing companies to inform the public about medical conditions. An analysis of Eli Lilly’s 40over40 promotion campaign for erectile dysfunction (ED), which included a quiz on ED, shows that DTCI, like DTCA, can be an effective means of drug familiarization. The pharmaceutical industry is ‘playing by the rules’ currently in effect in Canada. Regulators should thus seriously consider whether existing rules permitting DTCI actually meet stated objectives of protecting the public from marketing campaigns (i.e., DTCA) that may deliver misleading information.

In Healthcare Policy / Politiques de santé.