Undesirable Medical Advertisements Ordinance


Published: 2012-08-02

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Cap 231 - Undesirable Medical Advertisements Ordinance 1

Chapter: 231 Undesirable Medical Advertisements Ordinance Gazette Number Version Date

Long title E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


To restrict certain advertisements relating to medical and health matters.
(Amended 16 of 2005 s. 2)


[1 April 1953]


(Originally 4 of 1953)

(*Format changes—E.R. 2 of 2012)
______________________________________________________________________
Note:
* The format of the Ordinance has been updated to the current legislative styles.

Section: 1 Short title E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


This Ordinance may be cited as the Undesirable Medical Advertisements Ordinance.

Section: 2 Interpretation E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) In this Ordinance, unless the context otherwise requires- (Amended 65 of 1988 s. 9; L.N. 95 of 1993)
advertisement (廣告) includes any notice, poster, circular, label, wrapper or document, and any announcement made

orally or by any means of producing or transmitting light or sound;
medicine (藥物 ) includes any kind of medicament or other curative or preventive substance, and whether a

proprietary medicine, a patent medicine, a Chinese herbal medicine, a proprietary Chinese medicine, or
purported natural remedy; (Amended 47 of 1999 s. 167; 16 of 2005 s. 4)

orally consumed product (口服產品)-
(a) means a product (whether or not it is a medicine) for human consumption which is intended to be taken

orally and is in any of the following forms-
(i) pill;
(ii) capsule;
(iii) tablet;
(iv) granule;
(v) powder;
(vi) semi-solid;
(vii) liquid; or
(viii) a form similar to any of the forms mentioned in subparagraphs (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi) and (vii);

and
(b) does not include a product which is customarily consumed only as food or drink (that is to say, to provide

energy, nourishment or hydration) or to satisfy a desire for taste, texture or flavour. (Added 16 of 2005 s. 4)
(2) For the purposes of this Ordinance-

(a) the sale or supply, or offer or exposure for sale or supply, of any-
(i) medicine;
(ii) surgical appliance; or
(iii) treatment,
in a labelled container or package shall constitute the publication of an advertisement;

(b) the supply, inside any container or package containing any medicine, surgical appliance or treatment, of
information relating to that or any other medicine, surgical appliance or treatment shall not constitute the
publication of an advertisement. (Added 65 of 1988 s. 9)





Cap 231 - Undesirable Medical Advertisements Ordinance 2

Section: 3 Prohibition of advertisements relating to certain diseases;
exceptions therefrom

E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012



(1) No person shall publish, or cause to be published, any advertisement likely to lead to the use of any medicine,
surgical appliance or treatment for-
(a) the purpose of treating human beings for, or preventing human beings from contracting, any disease or

condition specified in column 1 of Schedule 1, except for a purpose (if any) specified in column 2 of that
Schedule; or

(b) treating human beings for any purpose specified in Schedule 2. (Replaced 65 of 1988 s. 2)
(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply to an advertisement published by or with the authority of the Director of Health or

to an advertisement duly authorized by an officer of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army for dissemination
only amongst members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. (Amended L.N. 76 of 1989; 2 of 2012 s. 3)

(3) Where, in an advertisement published in contravention of subsection (1), a person named in that advertisement is
held out-
(a) as being a manufacturer or supplier of medicine or surgical appliances; or
(b) as being able to provide any treatment,
that person is presumed, until the contrary is proved, to have caused the advertisement to be published. (Added
65 of 1988 s. 2)

(4) Where an advertisement published in contravention of subsection (1) gives the name, address or telephone
number of, or indicates some other means of contacting, a person, and that person-
(a) manufactures or supplies medicine or surgical appliances; or
(b) provides any treatment,
that person is presumed, until the contrary is proved, to have caused the advertisement to be published. (Added
65 of 1988 s. 2)

(5)-(6) (Omitted as spent—E.R. 2 of 2012)

Section: 3A (Omitted as spent—E.R. 2 of 2012) E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012




Section: 3B Prohibition of advertisements relating to certain orally
consumed products; exceptions therefrom

E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012



(1) No person shall publish, or cause to be published, an advertisement for an orally consumed product which makes
for the product a claim specified in column 1 of Schedule 4, or any similar claim, except as allowed under the
provisions in column 2 of that Schedule (as read subject to the Note in that Schedule).

(2) Where section 3(1) does not apply to an advertisement by virtue of section 3(2), in so far as the advertisement is
also an advertisement for an orally consumed product, subsection (1) does not apply to the advertisement.

(3) For the purposes of this section—
(a) the sale or supply, or offer or exposure for sale or supply, of an orally consumed product in a labelled

container or package shall constitute the publication of an advertisement;
(b) the supply, inside any container or package containing any orally consumed product, of information relating

to that or any other product shall not constitute the publication of an advertisement;
(c) any similar claim (任何類似的聲稱) means a claim that can reasonably be understood to be to the like

effect as the specified claim, by reference to all the relevant circumstances.
(4) Where, in an advertisement for an orally consumed product published in contravention of subsection (1), a

person named in that advertisement is held out as being a manufacturer or supplier of the product, that person is
presumed, until the contrary is proved, to have caused the advertisement to be published.

(5) Where an advertisement for an orally consumed product published in contravention of subsection (1) gives the
name, address or telephone number of, or indicates some other means of contacting, a person, and that person
manufactures or supplies the product, that person is presumed, until the contrary is proved, to have caused the
advertisement to be published.

(Added 16 of 2005 s. 5)




Cap 231 - Undesirable Medical Advertisements Ordinance 3

Section: 4 Prohibition of advertisements relating to abortion E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) Subject to subsection (2), no person shall in any manner write, print, or publish or cause to be written, printed or
published any advertisement-
(a) offering to procure the miscarriage of women;
(b) canvassing the procuration of miscarriage of women;
(c) inviting or inducing the procuration of miscarriage of women; or
(d) referring to any thing whatsoever, in terms which are calculated to lead to the use of that thing for the

procuration of miscarriage of women.
(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply to an advertisement published by or with the written authority of the Director of

Health. (Amended L.N. 76 of 1989)
(3) Where, in an advertisement published in contravention of subsection (1), a person named in that advertisement is

held out-
(a) as being a manufacturer or supplier of medicine or surgical appliances; or
(b) as being able to provide any treatment,
that person is presumed, until the contrary is proved, to have caused the advertisement to be published. (Added
65 of 1988 s. 4)

(4) Where any advertisement published in contravention of subsection (1) gives the name, address or telephone
number of, or indicates some other means of contacting, a person, and that person-
(a) manufactures or supplies medicine or surgical appliances; or
(b) provides any treatment,
that person is presumed, until the contrary is proved, to have caused the advertisement to be published. (Added
65 of 1988 s. 4)

(Replaced 70 of 1980 s. 2)

Section: 5 Certain defences; provision as to Chinese medicine

practitioners
E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012



(1) In any proceedings for a contravention of section 3, 3B or 4, it shall be a defence to prove that the advertisement
to which the proceedings relate was made only in a publication of a technical character intended for circulation
mainly amongst persons of the following classes, or of one or some of them- (Amended 16 of 2005 s. 6)
(a) medical practitioners registered under the Medical Registration Ordinance (Cap 161), or persons deemed to

be medical practitioners under section 29 thereof;
(b) pharmacists registered under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap 138);
(c) the medical and para-medical staff of-

(i) any hospital or maternity home to which the Hospitals, Nursing Homes and Maternity Homes
Registration Ordinance (Cap 165) applies;

(ii) any clinic to which the Medical Clinics Ordinance (Cap 343) applies;
(iii) any hospital, maternity home or clinic maintained by the Government, the Chinese University of Hong

Kong or the University of Hong Kong;
(iv) any hospital, maternity home or clinic managed or controlled by the Hospital Authority established

under the Hospital Authority Ordinance (Cap 113); (Replaced 16 of 2005 s. 6)
(d) Chinese medicine practitioners registered or listed under the Chinese Medicine Ordinance (Cap 549).

(Replaced 47 of 1999 s. 168)
(2) Nothing in the provisions of section 31 of the Medical Registration Ordinance (Cap 161) shall be taken to permit

any Chinese medicine practitioner or other person to take any part in an advertisement infringing the provisions
of this Ordinance, except to the extent of the defence provided for in subsection (1). (Amended 47 of 1999 s.
168)


Section: 6 Penalty E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


Any person who contravenes the provisions of section 3, 3B or 4 shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon
a first conviction to a fine at level 5 and imprisonment for 6 months and upon a second or subsequent conviction for
an offence under the same section to a fine at level 6 and imprisonment for 1 year.

(Amended 65 of 1988 ss. 5 & 10; 16 of 2005 s. 7)



Cap 231 - Undesirable Medical Advertisements Ordinance 4


Section: 7 Power to amend Schedules E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


The Director of Health may, by order published in the Gazette, amend the Schedules.
(Added 65 of 1988 s. 6. Amended 80 of 1997 s. 16)


Section: 8 Enforcement provisions E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) The Director of Health may in writing authorize any public officer to be an inspector for the purposes of this
Ordinance.

(2) For the purpose of ascertaining whether the provisions of this Ordinance are being complied with, an inspector
may—
(a) at any reasonable time enter—

(i) any premises at which any medicine, surgical appliance or orally consumed product is manufactured,
stored or sold;

(ii) any premises at which any treatment is provided;
(b) require any person found in the premises and whom the inspector reasonably suspects to have committed an

offence under section 3, 3B or 4, to give to the inspector the person’s name and address and evidence of
identity;

(c) in the premises make such examination and inquiry and do such other things, including the taking of copies
of advertisements, as are reasonably necessary for such purpose.

(3) If a magistrate is satisfied by information upon oath that there are reasonable grounds for believing that—
(a) an offence against section 3, 3B or 4 is being or has been committed in any premises; or
(b) there is or may be in any premises anything which is or contains, or which is likely to be or to contain,

evidence of the commission of an offence against any of those sections,
the magistrate may issue a warrant authorizing any inspector to enter and search the premises.

(4) If a warrant has been issued under subsection (3) in respect of any premises, an inspector may—
(a) at any time, using such force as is necessary, enter and search the premises;
(b) remove anything which obstructs such entry and search;
(c) detain any person found in the premises, for such period as is reasonably required to permit the search to be

carried out, if the person might prejudice the search if not so detained; and
(d) inspect, seize and detain anything which is or contains, or which appears to the inspector to be or to contain,

evidence of the commission of an offence against section 3, 3B or 4.
(5) When exercising any of the powers conferred by subsection (2) or (4), an inspector must, if so requested by any

person, produce for inspection by that person written evidence of the inspector’s authority.
(6) A person who—

(a) wilfully delays or obstructs an inspector in the exercise of the powers conferred by subsection (2) or (4); or
(b) fails without reasonable excuse to give any information which the inspector reasonably requires the person

to give under subsection (2),
commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine at level 3.

(Added 16 of 2005 s. 8)

Schedule: 1 Diseases and Conditions in respect of which

Advertisements are Prohibited or Restricted
E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012



[section 3]



Column 1

Disease or condition
Column 2

Purposes for which
advertising is permitted

1. Any benign or malignant tumour.


None.

2. Any viral, bacterial, fungal or other infectious disease, Treatment or prevention of minor cutaneous



Cap 231 - Undesirable Medical Advertisements Ordinance 5

including tuberculosis, dysentery, hepatitis and leprosy. infections where a dysentery, medicinal product is to
be administered to an external surface of the body,
including treatment by means of preparations for the
relief of pruritus or exanthematous rashes of
childhood infection.
Relief of symptoms of aphthous ulcer.
Relief of symptoms of common colds, coughs,
conditions commonly referred to as influenza and
similar upper respiratory tract infections.
Treatment of minor acute inflammatory conditions of
the buccal cavity and pharynx.
Prevention of common colds.


3. Any parasitic disease. Treatment of scabies or an infestation by
threadworms, lice or roundworm.


4. Any venereal disease, including syphilis, gonorrhoea,
soft chancre, lymphogranuloma venerum, genital
herpes, genital warts, urethritis, vaginitis, urethral or
vaginal discharge, acquired immunodeficiency
syndrome (AIDS), and any other sexually transmitted
disease.


None.

5. Any respiratory disease, including asthma, bronchitis,
and pneumonia.



Relief of symptoms of hay fever, rhinitis or catarrh.
Relief of blocked-up sinuses.

6. Any disease of the heart or cardiovascular system,
including rheumatic heart disease, arteriosclerosis,
coronary artery disease, arrythmias, hypertension,
cerebrovascular disease, congenital heart disease,
thrombosis, peripheral artery disease, oedema, retinal
vascular change and peripheral venous disease.


None.

7. Any gastro-intestinal disease, including gallstone,
cirrhosis, gastro-intestinal bleeding, diarrhoea, hernia,
fistula-in-ano and haemorrhoids.

Relief of such symptoms as are commonly referred to
as indigestion, heartburn, hyperacidity, dyspepsia,
halitosis (bad breath) or flatulence.
Symptomatic relief of colicky pain, stomach ache or
nausea.
Relief of occasional or non-persistent diarrhoea or
constipation.
Prevention of travel sickness or related symptoms.
Treatment of haemorrhoids for relief of symptoms by
means of locally effective preparations or stool-
softening agents and lubricants.


8. Any disease of the nervous system, including epilepsy,
mental disorder, mental retardation and paralysis.


Symptomatic relief of headaches.

9. Any disease of the genitourinary system, including
kidney stone, nephritis, cystitis, any prostatic disease
and phimosis.


None.

10. Any disease of the blood or lymphatic system,
including anemia, neck glands, bleeding disorders,

Prophylactic administration of minerals and vitamins
to avoid deficiency states in persons with adequate



Cap 231 - Undesirable Medical Advertisements Ordinance 6

leukemia and other lympho-proliferative diseases.


diet or with increased dietary requirements.

11. Any disease of the musculo-skeletal system, including
rheumatism, arthritis and sciatica.


External preparations for the relief of symptoms of
muscular pain and stiffness and cramp.



12. Any endocrine disease, including diabetes,
thyrotoxicosis, goitre and any other organic or
functional condition related to under or over activity of
any part of the system.


None.

13. Any organic condition affecting sight, hearing or
balance.

Relief of symptoms by means of the local
administration of eye preparations.
Relief of symptoms by means of local administration
of preparations as a solvent for ear wax.


14. Any disease of the skin, hair or scalp. Prevention or treatment of dandruff by means of
external applications.
Prevention of pimples.
Relief of symptoms of eczema and allergies by oral
antihistamine preparations.
Treatment, where applied to an external surface of
the body, of pimples, eczema, skin allergies,
athlete’s foot and fungal nail infection.
Prevention or treatment of contact dermititis and
sunburn by means of protective external applications.
Treatment of hard skin and corns by means of the
application of corn plasters or solvents.
Relief or prevention of common minor skin
conditions including dry and chapped skin, cold
sores, pruritus, insect bites, heat rash and napkin
rash.

(Schedule 1 added 65 of 1988 s. 8. Amended 16 of 2005 ss. 9 & 11)

Schedule: 2 Purposes for which it is Prohibited to Advertise any

Medicine, Surgical Appliance or Treatment
E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012



[section 3]

1. The induction of menstruation or relief of amenorrhea or delayed menstruation or any other gynaecological or

obstetrical disease.

2. The promotion of sexual virility, desire or fertility, or the restoration of lost youth.

3. The correction of deformity or the surgical alteration of a person's appearance.

(Schedule 2 added 65 of 1988 s. 8)

Schedule: 3 (Repealed 65 of 1988 s. 11) 30/06/1997




Schedule: 4 Claims for Orally Consumed Products in respect of which
Advertisements are Prohibited or Restricted

E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012



[section 3B]



Cap 231 - Undesirable Medical Advertisements Ordinance 7


Column 1

Claim
Column 2
Exemption


1. Prevention, elimination or treatment of

breast lumps, including eliminating the
blockage of milk ducts of the breast,
helping to eliminate disease-causing
factors or lumps, relieving the
associated discomfort symptoms,
helping to improve the metabolism of
breast tissue, effectively disintegrating
and eliminating abnormal cell tissues
and lumps.

None.


2. Regulation of the function of the

genitourinary system and/or
improvement of symptoms of
genitourinary problems such as frequent
urination, urgent urination, dripping
urination, poor stream, difficulty in
urination, urination at night, impeded
prostatic function and uncontrollable
urinary discharge or incontinence.

None.


3. Regulation of the endocrine system

and/or maintenance or alteration of
hormonal secretions, including helping
to maintain hormones at optimal level,
stimulating the hypothalamus,
increasing secretion of oestrogen,
promoting normal secretion of the
female hormone, regulating the female
endocrine function, improving
imbalance of male hormone secretion,
helping to maintain balance of hormonal
secretions in men and women,
stimulating hormonal secretions,
regulating endocrine secretion,
balancing endocrine secretion,
increasing secretion of growth hormone,
stimulating the thyroid gland.

None.


4. Regulation of body sugar or glucose

and/or alteration of the function of the
pancreas, including regulating blood
sugar, suppressing or reducing the
absorption of glucose, reducing the
blood sugar level, increasing the
metabolism of body sugar, being
suitable for diabetic patients, being
against blood sugar, being suitable for
people with high blood sugar, improving
the function of the pancreas, stimulating
the secretion of insulin.

(a) Subject to paragraph (b), the following claims are
allowed—
(i) “This product is suitable for people concerned

about blood sugar. 此產品適合關注血糖的人
士服用。”;

(ii) “This product may assist in stabilizing blood
sugar. 此產品或有助於穩定血糖。”;

(iii) “This product is intended for people concerned
about blood sugar. 此產品以關注血糖的人士
為對象。”; and



Cap 231 - Undesirable Medical Advertisements Ordinance 8

(iv) “This product is for the consumption by people
concerned about blood sugar. 此產品供關注血
糖的人士服用。”.

(b) In relation to a product which is not registered under
the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap 138) or the
Chinese Medicine Ordinance (Cap 549), the claims
referred to in paragraph (a)(i), (ii), (iii) and (iv) are
allowed only if the advertisement clearly includes the
following disclaimer—

“This product is not registered under the
Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance or the Chinese
Medicine Ordinance. Any claim made for it has not
been subject to evaluation for such registration.
This product is not intended to diagnose, treat or
prevent any disease. 此產品沒有根據《藥劑業
及毒藥條例》或《中醫藥條例》註冊。為此

產品作出的任何聲稱亦沒有為進行該等註

冊而接受評核。此產品並不供作診斷、治療

或預防任何疾病之用。”.
(See Note)


5. Regulation of blood pressure, including

regulating blood pressure, controlling
blood pressure, reducing blood pressure,
being suitable for people with high
blood pressure.

(a) Subject to paragraph (b), the following claims are
allowed—
(i) “This product is suitable for people concerned

about blood pressure. 此產品適合關注血壓的
人士服用。”;

(ii) “This product may assist in stabilizing blood
pressure. 此產品或有助於穩定血壓。”;

(iii) “This product is intended for people concerned
about blood pressure. 此產品以關注血壓的人
士為對象。”; and

(iv) “This product is for the consumption by people
concerned about blood pressure. 此產品供關注
血壓的人士服用。”.

(b) In relation to a product which is not registered under
the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap 138) or the
Chinese Medicine Ordinance (Cap 549), the claims
referred to in paragraph (a)(i), (ii), (iii) and (iv) are
allowed only if the advertisement clearly includes the
following disclaimer—

“This product is not registered under the
Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance or the Chinese
Medicine Ordinance. Any claim made for it has not
been subject to evaluation for such registration.
This product is not intended to diagnose, treat or
prevent any disease. 此產品沒有根據《藥劑業
及毒藥條例》或《中醫藥條例》註冊。為此

產品作出的任何聲稱亦沒有為進行該等註

冊而接受評核。此產品並不供作診斷、治療



Cap 231 - Undesirable Medical Advertisements Ordinance 9

或預防任何疾病之用。”.
(See Note)


6. Regulation of blood lipids or cholesterol,

including preventing high blood lipids,
helping to maintain normal blood lipids,
lowering blood lipids, reducing or
regulating cholesterol, balancing blood
cholesterol, excreting cholesterol in the
blood vessel outside the body, being
suitable for people with high blood
lipids or high cholesterol.

(a) Subject to paragraph (b), the following claims are
allowed—
(i) “This product is suitable for people concerned

about blood lipids/cholesterol. 此產品適合關注
血脂/膽固醇的人士服用。”;

(ii) “This product may assist in stabilizing blood
lipids/cholesterol. 此產品或有助於穩定血脂/
膽固醇。”;

(iii) “This product is intended for people concerned
about blood lipids/cholesterol. 此產品以關注血
脂/膽固醇的人士為對象。”; and

(iv) “This product is for the consumption by people
concerned about blood lipids/cholesterol. 此產品
供關注血脂/膽固醇的人士服用。”.

(b) In relation to a product which is not registered under
the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap 138) or the
Chinese Medicine Ordinance (Cap 549), the claims
referred to in paragraph (a)(i), (ii), (iii) and (iv) are
allowed only if the advertisement clearly includes the
following disclaimer—

“This product is not registered under the
Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance or the Chinese
Medicine Ordinance. Any claim made for it has not
been subject to evaluation for such registration.
This product is not intended to diagnose, treat or
prevent any disease. 此產品沒有根據《藥劑業
及毒藥條例》或《中醫藥條例》註冊。為此

產品作出的任何聲稱亦沒有為進行該等註冊

而接受評核。此產品並不供作診斷、治療或

預防任何疾病之用。”.
(See Note)


Note: If the advertisement is wholly or mainly in the English or Chinese language, a claim stated in column 2 may be

limited to that language, but where there is included in the same advertisement any other claim or disclaimer
that is stated in column 2, that other claim or disclaimer (as the case may be) shall also be limited to that
language.

(Schedule 4 added 16 of 2005 s. 10)