Enforcing the rules for prescription-only medicines and 'vitamin shots'

Today, CAP has published a new Enforcement Notice: Advertising Vitamin Shots (Coronavirus/Covid-19) with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), following the publication of this ASA ruling.

The Notice targets the promotion of injectable vitamin D and injectable vitamin B12 to UK consumers. These are prescription-only medicines (POMs), which cannot be advertised to the public.

Notwithstanding that POMs cannot be advertised to consumers, we are also extremely concerned to see a small number of businesses advertising vitamin shots on websites and social media which have stated or implied that the drips could help to prevent or treat Coronavirus/COVID-19.

The Enforcement Notice makes clear that advertisers must not, directly or indirectly, promote POM’s to the public.

Ads for all “vitamin shot” products, not just Vitamin D or Vitamin B12, may not make direct or indirect claims that such products could help to prevent or treat Coronavirus/COVID-19. Our approach to indirect claims is broad and will include claims to treat or prevent viruses, e.g flu.

The Compliance team will take targeted enforcement action from 12th June to ensure a level-playing-field, which may include – where advertisers are unwilling to comply – referral to the MHRA.

For advice about specific non-broadcast ads, please contact the CAP Copy Advice team.

More on

  • Keep up to date

    Sign up to our rulings, newsletters and emargoed access for Press. Subscribe now.