U.S. flag An official website of the United States government
  1. Home
  2. Drugs
  3. Resources for You | Drugs
  4. Information for Consumers and Patients | Drugs
  5. Prescription Drug Advertising
  6. Incorrect Help-Seeking Ad
  1. Prescription Drug Advertising

Incorrect Help-Seeking Ad

Be Smart About Prescription Drug Advertising: A Guide for Consumers

Help-seeking ads describe a disease or condition but do not recommend or suggest specific drugs. For instance, this ad describes seasonal allergy symptoms, such as runny nose, sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes. People with these symptoms are encouraged to talk to their doctor. This ad is not a help-seeking ad because it directs the reader to ask for a specific drug. If an ad names or otherwise identifies a prescription drug, it is not a help-seeking ad. To be a help-seeking ad, the ad should not name or otherwise identify a prescription drug.

Choose a yellow number in the ad for detailed information.

View a Correct Help-Seeking Ad


incorrect help-seeking ad

Number 1The ad describes the symptoms of seasonal allergies, but it also includes the name of a specific (fictional) drug ("Arbitraer"). Therefore, we would consider it a product claim ad. As a result, the ad needs to meet all the requirements for a product claim ad.

Back to top
Incorrect Help-Seeking Ad Slice 1
Number 2To be a help-seeking ad, the text cannot recommend a specific drug as a treatment. Because it directs the reader to ask about a specific drug, we would consider the ad a product claim ad. Directing the reader to ask a healthcare provider about symptoms is appropriate. To be a help-seeking ad, it could say, "Ask your healthcare provider what you can do."

Back to top
Incorrect Help-Seeking Ad Slice 2
Number 3Help-seeking ads may identify the company sponsoring the ad and provide a telephone number to call or a website to visit for more information.

Back to top
Incorrect Help-Seeking Ad Slice 3


Note: This website does not purport to set forth all the ways in which an ad may violate the law, but rather to explain to the public some of the basic concepts related to drug advertising. 


This site was developed as a collaborative effort between FDA and EthicAd to educate consumers about DTC prescription drug advertisements. 

Back to Top