How does the law regulate advertising for specific products such as food supplements, medicines, alcohol, nicotine pouches or kratom?

  • Datum 26. 6. 2024
6 minut čtení

Advertising law has its own rules in the Czech Republic. However, some products can only be presented to a limited extent or even not at all. For instance, sellers of food supplements are familiar with this as they must consider every single word they include in their advertisements. Why? Because food supplements are classified as specific products – the kind that lawmakers have decided need extra consumer protection. Therefore, in today's article, we'll look at the particular rules that specific goods have when it comes to marketing.

Rules for advertising food supplements

Food supplements are mostly sold in the form of pills, solutions or powders and are intended to supplement the diet with a concentrated source of vitamins or other substances. However, due to their form, they are very often confused with medication. Possibly also because they are being sold in the pharmacy.

To ensure that Czech consumers understand that it is not a medicine or other product, all advertising must include the term 'doplněk stravy', which means food supplement in Czech. It must be mentioned in the e‑shop, in social media posts or even in Google Ads text.

When advertising food supplements, it is important to remember that they do not have the ability to heal. Therefore, you cannot claim that they will help with the flu or improve eyesight. They may have some effect on our health, whether it is supporting immunity, digestion or concentration, but they cannot have similar effects as medication or medical devices.

Three types of claims

If you already work with food supplements (or other foods), you surely know that there are three types of claims:

Nutrition claims

These claims talk about an energy value or nutrient content, e. g.

  • fat-free,
  • source of fibre,
  • no added sugar.

However, you can only use them if you are permitted to do so by European Regulation 1924/2006 and if you meet its conditions. In fact, if you want to boast about the 'fat-free' claim, you can only use it if your product has no more than 0.5 g of fat per 100 g or 100 ml, according to the regulation stated above.

Health claims

Health claims already link the product to human health, e. g.

  • vitamin C contributes to the normal function of the immune system,
  • magnesium contributes to normal muscle function,
  • zinc contributes to the maintenance of normal skin condition.

Note that the claims do not say that vitamins or minerals will improve or heal anything in the body, they only help maintain a certain desired state.

In addition, you can only use health claims if your product contains a specific vitamin, mineral or other substance and if the European authorities have approved a specific claim for that substance.

Experienced sellers already know that many substances unfortunately do not have any approved health claim and the descriptions of e‑shop products are often empty and the customers do not know what the product is actually for.

In addition, the use of health claims has many specific rules. If you are involved in the sale of food supplements, it is advisable to consult a lawyer when promoting them.

Medical claims

With medical claims you must remember just one thing: never use them in the case of food supplements or other foods!

A medical claim is anything where you use:

  • disease names (g. flu, covid, diarrhea, illness, cold),
  • names of symptoms (e. g. cough, pain, cramps, fever),
  • words associated with cures or diseases (e. g. cures, heals, restores, improves condition, prevention),
  • graphic representations associated with cures and diseases (e. g. a picture of a doctor).

How to distinguish between the claims?

For a better understanding, let us conclude with an example of the difference between a health claim and a prohibited medical claim:

  • contributes to the maintenance of normal skin condition = health claim,
  • helps to maintain healthy skin = health claim,
  • improves skin condition = medical claim,
  • helps with skin healing = medical claim.

Rules for advertising medicines and medical devices

Since 2021, we have relatively unified regulation of advertising for medicines and medical devices. Medical devices are various items such as nasal sprays, covid tests, healing patches and even contact lenses.

You must provide the mandatory information for both medicines and medical devices. Again, this applies to any advertising format such as an e‑shop caption, Instagram post or PPC ad text. We call the mandatory information the legal line and these are its essentials:

  • You must indicate that it is a medicinal product for human use, medical device or in vitro diagnostic medical device (with Czech expressions, of course).
  • You must provide the exact name of the product.
  • For medicines, you must describe the necessary information for the use of the product (e. g. whether it is applied to the skin or whether it is an oral solution). For medical devices, you must define what the product is used for.
  • For both products, you must point out that the customer should carefully read the package leaflet of the medicine or the instructions for use of the medical device and the information relating to its safe use.

So, if we wanted to add an advertisement for a drug called Headhealer® to Facebook, we would include this legal line in the marketing texts:

Headhealer® is a medicine for internal human use used for headache. Read the package leaflet carefully.

There are also many prohibitions for both medicines and medical devices how you can communicate them. Here are some of them:

  • Thanks to this medical device, you will never have to see a doctor again.
  • This medicine is recommended by our ambassador and influential actress Libuše, try it too!
  • Without our medicine, you are at risk of cancer!
  • Our medicine is natural and that's why it works so well.
  • Kids, tell your parents to buy you cough pastilles! They taste even better than the sweets at the candy store!
  • If you take our medicinal tablets, you will get better for sure.
  • You can use our nasal spray without any risk!

Rules for alcohol advertising

Alcoholic beverages also have their own special regulation. It is because one should not associate drinking alcohol with improving their quality of life, when it is in fact a toxic and addictive substance.

Therefore, you must not do these things while advertising alcohol:

  • Show children and teens or use any elements that are close to them (typically some teen trends or child characters).
  • Encourage immoderate drinking.
  • Make negative or ironic comments about someone not drinking.
  • Associate alcohol with success, better performance or social status.
  • Claim that alcohol cures, stimulates or calms.
  • Associate alcohol with driving.
  • Claim that alcohol can solve personal problems or conflicts.
  • Emphasise that the positive aspect of a drink is its alcohol content.

Typically, the authorities fine those advertisements in which people score with the opposite sex after drinking alcoholic beverage. But a bizarre fine was also issued for an ad in which younger actresses drank typical Czech alcoholic beverage Fernet with gummy bears on a zorb ball.

Rules for advertising nicotine pouches and kratom

The market for nicotine pouches and kratom has been shaken to its foundations recently.

A new decree has been in force since mid-2023, setting new rules for how nicotine pouches should look, what they can contain or what properties they should have. It also contains plenty of restrictions and bans.

There are no restrictions on advertising in effect yet, but they are already being prepared in the form of an amendment. According to the amendment, advertising on the internet, social networks and traditional media would be completely banned, even in the form of sponsoring events or influencer collaborations. It will not even be possible to provide free samples.

In the Chamber of Deputies, a new law on psychomodulatory substances is being drafted, which should include kratom.

For which other products is advertising restricted?

Other products you should always be on the lookout for include:

  • tobacco products and electronic cigarettes,
  • food and infant nutrition,
  • plant protection products and auxiliary products,
  • veterinary medicinal products,
  • temporary accommodation and other recreational services,
  • gambling,
  • health-targeted products,
  • medicated feed and intermediate products,
  • firearms and ammunition,
  • the operation of a funeral service.

If you need advice or a check of your campaign in any of these areas, arrange a consultation with us here. You can also call us on +420 255 785 595 or email us at

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