A fine of 50,000 PLN for Dr.Max for an application that places only pharmacies in the chain

The Podkarpackie Provincial Pharmaceutical Inspector has decided that the “My Pharmacist” application is an advertisement for the 42 pharmacies of the Dr.Max franchise network in Podkarpacie. As a result, he fined the company 50,000 PLN. The program provided users with a range of services, including access to the drug database, setting up reminders to take medication, pharmacist support and advice, as well as searching for the nearest pharmacies. The problem was that the application showed only the nearest Dr.Max pharmacies, ignoring others. According to Podkarpacki WIF, the reason for this application is to encourage people to use the services of specific companies that organize their advertising (more: Another pharmacy network is launching a mobile application. Will it cause controversy?).

Another element of the violation was the method and scale of promotion. As determined by the Year Pharmaceutical Inspector, potential users were encouraged to install the program in a variety of ways. In November and December of last year, among others, the winners were vouchers worth 1,300 PLN and 200 PLN. It was necessary to install the application to participate in the competition. The application was also published on Dr.Max’s website and in its pharmacies.

During the administrative procedure, Podkarpacki called on the managers of all 42 pharmacies of the WIF Dr.Max franchise network to explain. He asked, among others, how the pharmacy staff applied and gave information about the competition. The information campaign, in which all pharmacists send explanations, includes handing out leaflets, placing posters, or placing special prints on the backs of receipts and in paper bags sold to patients. This has been going on since March 2021.

The nearest pharmacy … a chain

During the trial, the company’s lawyer demanded his return. He argued that the activities were for informational purposes only and that the application itself did not contain any information about promotions, discounts or other benefits for the patient (also read: The mobile application violated the ban on advertising in pharmacies. WIF imposed penalties …).

– All functions provided in the application are limited to providing health-oriented information. (…) Finding a pharmacy is a function that provides information about the location of the nearest pharmacy – persuaded the company representative.

However, Podkarpackie Voivodeship Pharmaceutical Inspector disagreed with this assessment. He concluded that the purpose of the application and its intensive promotion among patients is to increase sales in Dr.Max pharmacies. WIF pointed out that the logo of the application is almost identical to the logo used by the network’s pharmacies.

– It is difficult for the average recipient to distinguish the logo, which, in the opinion of the Agency, is a well-thought-out procedure. As a result, the graphic design and use of the logo by the Party shall be considered associative advertising. The Website used the logo to promote the Application and the Contest – Noted WIF.

Associative advertising …

According to Podkarpackie Voivodeship Pharmaceutical Inspector, the campaign and function that promotes the application itself, Dr.Max, which refers only to the nearest pharmacies in a chain, should generally be interpreted as a promotion of accessible pharmacies.

– The purpose of the action is of course encourage to buy in pharmaciesand at the same time an unambiguous association of actions and pulled forward competition with network pharmacies Dr Max by Ministry myself approximately the samenym with logo. P.similarity behindwalk between engagements Application encouraged and individual The network of pharmacies is quite clear that it allows consumers/ patients proper connection ads Application with Pharmacies. According to the organization, the party’s intention is causes hours receiver (Purchasecy) will be use with suggest apteki belong down Dr Max. As a result, the goal is to attract customers and create a positive marketizerunek network between customers. Thus, the company aimed to evade the ban advertisements of pharmacies were expressedin Art. 94a Pf He pointed to WIF.

Finally, in this case, he found that the ban on advertising in pharmacies was violated. Given that the advertisement covers the entire network of pharmacies, lasts about a year and has a wide coverage, WIF has decided to impose a maximum fine on the company, as provided for in the regulations. Dr. Max must pay 50,000 PLN.

FARZ-DA.8523.11.2021 Decision dated April 21, 2022.


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