Research and Resources

Advertising Guidelines

AHI has developed a set of guidelines – Principles of Good Practice for Advertising and Promotion of Animal Health Products – that aims to provide the public, especially users of animal health products, with information that is accurate, fair, complete, clear and appropriate for the given medical need. All AHI members and non-members are strongly encouraged to observe these principles.

The complete guidelines are included below, and can also be downloaded by clicking here.

Principles of Good Practice for Advertising and Promotion of Animal Health Products

A Voluntary Guideline Developed by the Animal Health Institute

The Animal Health Institute is the U.S. trade association representing manufacturers of animal health products – the pharmaceuticals, vaccines and feed additives used in modern food production, and the medicines that keep pets healthy. The animal health products market is diverse, complex and unique. It is one of the most heavily regulated markets in the United States, with products that may be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Some products may be sold only with a veterinarian’s prescription or order, some are over-the-counter (OTC), and others may be used only through a veterinary feed directive (VFD) or in conjunction with official government disease control or eradication programs. For more than 60 years AHI has worked with research-based companies to develop unified positions and speak with one voice on industry issues.

Principles of Good Practice for Advertising and Promotion of Animal Health Product

The Animal Health Institute and its member companies are committed to providing the public with products that help keep animals healthy, and animal-derived food safe without damaging the environment for future generations. The industry understands the importance of providing people who use animal health products with information that is accurate, fair, complete, clear and appropriate for the situation. With that in mind, the Animal Health Institute has adopted principles of Good Practice for the Advertising and Promotion of Animal Health Products. All members are strongly encouraged to observe these principles. AHI also encourages non-members to do as well.

Guiding Principles

Mindful of the trust the public has placed in the animal health products industry, members of the Animal Health Institute undertake:

  1. To base product claims on valid scientific evidence, thus enabling veterinarians, producers and others to select the appropriate product to treat a specific condition.
    1. To provide scientific information with objectivity and scrupulous regard for accuracy, and with clear statements with respect to indications, contraindications, withdrawal times and toxicity.
    2. To use complete candor in dealing with public health officials, animal health professionals and the public.
    3. To ensure that all advertising and/or promotional materials are consistent with the product’s label and applicable state and federal laws.
    4. To comply with applicable state and federal law regarding animal health products, including the regulations and policies issued by the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency and all other government agencies.

 

Advertising and Promotional Guidelines

Advertisements and promotional materials shall promote and depict use of the product consistent with label instructions. Promotion of the usefulness of an animal health product shall be based on evaluation of all the evidence and reflect this evidence accurately and clearly.

Comparisons of products, including competitive comparative claims, shall be substantiated with adequate and statistically valid data.

All claims, including comparative claims, in advertising and promotional materials, shall be truthful and non-deceptive.

All representatives of an animal health company shall be adequately trained and possess sufficient medical, veterinary, technical and/or professional knowledge to present information about their company’s products in an accurate and responsible manner.

Advertisements and promotional materials may contain the following statement or a similar public interest message: “Read and follow label instructions”; “Eye clock”; and “Double arrow” insignia, which direct product users to important label information, and are available to both AHI members and non-members.

 

Customer Relationships

Animal health products are purchased by a wide array of customers, each with unique needs and expectations from the suppliers of those products. Our customers include pet owners, food animal producers, veterinarians, pharmacies, feed mills, distributors and government agencies. Each of these customers demands professional interactions from the suppliers of animal health products. Animal health companies are an essential source of information about the usage, safety and efficacy of our products, helping to set realistic expectations about how our products address the needs of our customers. In order to ensure professional interactions with our customers, we will hold ourselves to ethical business practices, optimize business interests of both parties, engender trust and ensure that the selection of a product is based on appropriate medical or nutritional rationale.

The provision of any hospitality, entertainment or promotional items shall be reasonable and proportional to the situation, and always done so in a manner mindful of the need to protect the good reputation of the animal health products industry. Promotional items should not be given to inappropriately reward prescribing or dispensing behavior for specific products. These provisions do not address or preclude normal business practices involving discounts, rebates, free goods or other business incentives.

All representatives of an animal health company shall be adequately trained and possess sufficient medical, veterinary, technical and/or professional knowledge to present information about their company’s products in an accurate and responsible manner.

Resolving Disputes Regarding Advertising and / or Promotional Materials

Any AHI member company that considers itself aggrieved by the conduct of another company regarding advertising or promotional materials shall first approach the other company with its concerns with the intent of resolving the dispute voluntarily and expeditiously. In keeping with the objectives of AHI, members should consider alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, as well as other avenues of relief.

Observance of the Principles

The Board of Directors of the Animal Health Institute – representing senior management from all member companies – agrees to support their respective companies’ voluntary compliance with these principles.

Authorization

These Principles of Good Practice for the Advertising and Promotion of Animal Health Products were first adopted by the AHI Board of Directors on Feb. 6, 1996, with revisions made on April 15, 2000, and April 30, 2009.