Influencers must obtain approval from the Ministry of Health and Prevention before promoting health products on social media platforms

By Melissa Murray, Ayah Abdin

09-2020

You may recall that in our previous article titled “Implications of the new National Media Council’s Regulations”, we touched upon the mandatory licensing requirement which must be met by social media bloggers and influencers whom provide paid advertising services on social media platforms.

In addition to such requirement imposed by the National Media Council, bloggers, social media influencers and healthcare institutions are also required to obtain the prior approval of the Ministry of Health and Prevention (the “MoHaP”) in order to advertise medicines, pharmaceutical products, and any health-related products on social media platforms. This further regulatory restriction arose in order to prevent individuals whom lack the professional qualifications and educational background from promoting such products to the public.

The restrictions brought by such new regulations entail that social media promoters must refrain from using include absolute statements, exaggerated claims and alarming expressions. Further, the information provided on these platforms must also be factually accurate, reliable, and comprehensive in a sense that the advertisement must touch upon the advantages and disadvantages of the health-related product in question.

To such effect, the Regulation, Licensing, and Advertising Department at the MoHaP processes and approves online applications to obtain this license. While the application for a license to advertise health-related products on a social media account costs AED 100, the MoHaP issues either monthly or annual licenses, for the following costs:

No. Type of License Costs
1. Monthly license for healthcare advertisement on social media AED 1,000/month
2. Annual license for healthcare advertisement on social media AED 3,000/year

The outcome of adding an additional layer of licensing requirements is vital for the MoHaP, as it will serve to track and adjust the information that is advertised and made available to consumers on social media platforms and regulate the individuals/institutions that are permitted to provide such content.