Medical marketing in Poland is not one of the easiest sectors to communicate in. Brands must, on the one hand, effectively reach their audiences and, on the other, meet the strict guidelines of Polish law. This will be particularly difficult if you are just starting out in this market and have no experience. We have a short guide for you on how to effectively (and legally!) promote medical products in Poland.
Table of contents:
- Medical marketing in Poland – important definitions
- Competitive Polish market – how to start planning your communications?
- Effective methods of online promotion of medical products
- Guidelines for advertising medical devices in Poland
- What must be included in medical device advertising for it to be legal?
Medical marketing in Poland – important definitions
Let us start by defining what is considered to be medical products. Medical products are medical equipment, rehabilitation equipment and other products necessary to provide medical services or improve health and well-being. Looking at the definition a bit more broadly, such products can also be medical devices.
Medical devices include, for example:
- Plasters and dressings,
- Specialist diagnostic equipment,
- Pregnancy tests,
- Breast pumps,
- Injection preparations (e.g. hyaluronic acid),
- Lozenges, nasal sprays and over-the-counter syrups (in this case medical devices can be placed somewhere between medicines and dietary supplements).
The promotion of medical products in Poland may involve communication with many different participants in the healthcare market. Depending on the product category, the target group could therefore be medical facilities, doctors, pharmacists, pharmacy owners, wholesalers, distributors or patients.
Here, however, the first important piece of information comes into play – according to Article 14 of the Medical Activities Act, content addressed to healthcare providers must not have the characteristics of advertising. This means that leaflets, price lists and any other information material to doctors, for example, are not regarded as advertising.
In this article, we focus on the latter group, i.e. potential consumers.
A competitive Polish market – how do you start planning your marketing?
In the medical products sector, the Polish market is huge. Its overall value, calculated by company revenues, is PLN 17.5 billion, thus providing a huge contribution to the country’s GDP. In 2020 alone, the value of the domestic production of this industry amounted to nearly PLN 11 billion (mainly due to the pandemic). So how do you find your place on the market as a foreign company in Poland and conduct effective medical brand promotion?
Here are some tips:
Start by analysing the market
Giant competition makes it incredibly difficult to stand out. What’s more, Poles tend to trust domestic products by nature, so foreign brands have a real challenge. Understanding the specifics of the industry in Poland and the needs of customers is the basis of the brand-building process.
Focus on creating a strong brand
In the medical products market in Poland, it is best to stick to the principle ‘build trust first and then sell’. Poles will not reach for products from a brand they do not know. In the initial stages of your strategy, focus on proper brand exposure.
Do not focus on one form of communication
In our experience, the more dispersed the exposure of a brand (e.g., in the press, on TV and online), the faster potential customers begin to recognise the brand. Therefore, it is important to include a variety of marketing channels in your medical product promotion strategy in Poland.
Effective methods for promoting medical products online
As a PR agency experienced in working with foreign brands in Poland operating in the medical products sector, we have developed a number of strategies that work well in B2C communication:
- Website with educational blog,
- Social media (in particular Facebook and Instagram),
- Paid advertising in the Google ecosystem (including YouTube advertising),
- Email marketing,
- Influencer marketing.
Remember, however, that all these forms of communication are subject to strict legal regulations. Without knowing them, you are exposing your company to high penalties – the legislator has provided for a fine of up to PLN 2 million for breaching the regulations.
Guidelines for advertising medical devices in Poland
The year 2023 was an insanely important year for the medical device sector in Poland. On 1 January, the law of 7 April 2022 on medical devices came into force, which revolutionised the way medical device-related communication, a large branch of medical marketing in Poland, is carried out.
The most important rules for advertising medical devices in Poland:
Advertising must contain a clear information message
That is – it must be understandable to any recipient, in particular to people without medical training. Therefore, you cannot use complicated medical terms that require specialised knowledge, or refer to scientific research or medical publications.
It is forbidden to suggest that a product is an alternative to a visit to the doctor
It is also prohibited to suggest in the message that the product has no side effects.
Advertising must not be aimed at minors
Even if children or teenagers appear in the communication – the overall message must be aimed at Poles over the age of 18. The 2023 Act also prohibits the promotion of products that may evoke associations with sweets, such as jelly beans or candies.
The image of a specialist may not be used in communications
In Poland, it is forbidden to use the image of doctors, nurses or other persons related to medicine in advertisements. It is also not allowed to show actors playing the roles of such medical professionals in communications.
The beauty industry is also partially regulated
Certain products used in aesthetic medicine, such as lifting threads, botox or fillers, are also subject to medical device advertising regulations. This is worth bearing in mind.
What must be included in a medical device advertisement for it to be legal?
Advertising to the public must include:
- A statement that the product being sold is a medical device.
- The name of the manufacturer.
- At least the name or trade name of the device.
- The use (indications for use).
- Contra-indications or information to consult a specialist in case of doubt.
- Information on the likely risks.
Importantly, in this case it is not only paid content (e.g. Facebook advertising or banner advertising) that is considered advertising, but all messages that have the hallmarks of advertising. This includes messages such as ‘the best product on the market’, a reduction in the price of a product or an indication of the benefits of use. Therefore, product cards in online shops and drugstores or educational blog posts may also be regulated.
Do you want to effectively promote your medical brand on the Polish market? Talk to us! We have years of experience in running comprehensive campaigns for foreign brands in Poland operating in this sector. We will help you build a distinctive brand communication in full compliance with the applicable law.