According to a report by Remix News, the bill prohibiting actors from portraying medical professionals in ads was passed in April 2022. However, some of its regulations only took effect on Jan. 1.
Lukasz Jankowski, president of Poland's Supreme Medical Council, justified the decision by arguing that advertisements featuring actors in the role of doctors and other medical professionals are misleading.
"It is a change in a very positive direction," said the NRL president. "You cannot mislead a patient and pretend to be a doctor who is recommending medical products."
"Just as it is not allowed to pretend to be a policeman and knock on someone's door, it should not be allowed to pretend to be a doctor to prescribe medical products," Jankowski continued, emphasizing his opposition to the use of a doctor's credibility for commercial purposes.
Arkadiusz Gradkowski, president of the Polish Chamber of Commerce of Medical Devices (POLMED), echoed Jankowski's sentiments.
"The new regulations are intended to eliminate the use of a doctor's image in order to support advertising with social authority," the POLMED president told the Medonet news service.
A May 2022 report from Notes from Poland elaborated on the law. According to the outlet, the prohibition applies to advertisements for products such as contact lenses, protective masks, wheelchairs and condoms.
However, the ban does not apply to non-commercial activities such as educational campaigns. Those who violate the ban by continuing to cast actors as medical professionals in advertisements for medical products face a fine of up to two million Polish zloty ($452,354.20). (Related: Why isn't the FTC prosecuting Healthcare.gov for false advertising and consumer fraud?)
Remix News stated that "in accordance with the new regulations, the advertisement of a product directed at the public must be formulated in a manner comprehensible to the average consumer." Thus, medical terminology and results of scientific studies must be presented to consumers in a way they can easily understand.
Moreover, the April 2022 law stated that an ad cannot include a direct exhortation to children to buy products, or persuade their parents or other adults to buy advertised products for them.
It also banned the use of positive consumer opinions about a medical product to promote it. According to Gradkowski, this is intended to curb the use of social media influencers to market certain products.
Speaking to Medonet, lawyer Joanna Wajdzik said many companies have tried in recent years to reclassify products such as cough syrups and tablets as medical devices. While the reclassification sought to evade the more stringent guidelines on medicines, she mentioned that the new regulations will close that loophole.
A similar instance of actors being banned from portraying doctors was seen in China back in 2009. A February 2009 report by Reuters said the Chinese State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) ordered a ban on actors and other "non-accredited personnel" from playing medical experts in drug advertisements. The ban followed an expose by a Chinese internet user that revealed 12 fake experts appearing on TV stations in Shandong province.
SAIC vowed punishment toward these fake endorsers and the firms making the products they endorse. Repeated violations would see revocations of licenses for both advertisers and companies, alongside "temporary suspensions of sales for their medicinal products," the state-owned Xinhua news agency reported at the time.
Watch Stew Peters and DeAnna Lorraine discuss fake doctors on TikTok pushing children to get injected with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine below.
This video is from the Signposts channel on Brighteon.com.