Advertising for medicines could soon sound different
Waltraud Grubitzsch / dpa
“Read the package leaflet about risks and side effects and ask your doctor or pharmacist”: if several medical and pharmaceutical trade associations have their way, this legally required text should be reworded in drug advertising to be gender-neutral.
The previously purely male formulation "no longer fits in with the times," said Klaus Reinhardt, President of the German Medical Association, to the newspapers of the editorial network Germany (RND), because there are now about as many female doctors as there are doctors.
The previous formulation with "... and ask your doctor or pharmacist" is prescribed in the Medicines Act.
"The mandatory text should be replaced by a neutral yet easily understandable wording," Reinhardt demanded.
Almost 90 percent women work in pharmacies
Almost 90 percent of the employees in public pharmacies are women, said Gabriele Regina Overwiening, President of the Federal Union of German Pharmacists' Associations (ABDA): "A purely male use of language can by no means be considered fair language practice." She advocated a legal solution, where several variants are allowed, for example “Ask your doctor or pharmacist”, “Ask your doctor or pharmacist” or “Ask your doctor or pharmacist”.
As President of the German Female Doctors' Association, Christiane Groß suggested adding »... or ask in your doctor's practice or pharmacy« instead of the male professional titles.
There had already been a push from the pharmaceutical industry to use gender-appropriate language in drug advertising last year, when the company Angelini Pharma started a petition and arbitrarily changed the text to »doctor or pharmacist«.
The phrase "Ask your doctor or pharmacist" was also discussed.
So far, however, neither has been able to establish itself.
This also applies to the self-designations of the associations involved.
At the German Medical Association, for example, there was a number of controversial discussions about changing this name and that of the German Medical Association to be more gender-equitable.
So far, however, the purely male designations have remained, as has the pharmacists' association.