Advertising Policies and Principles

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) accepts advertising in certain of its publications including (but not limited to) professional journals and web sites, meeting and convention publications, and direct-to-patient/consumer publications and web sites. Advertising revenue is used to support the activities of the AAFP.

The appearance of advertising does not indicate or imply endorsement of the advertised company or product, nor is advertising ever allowed to influence editorial content. Members and patients count on the AAFP to be an authoritative, independent voice in the world of science and medicine. Public confidence in our objectivity is critical to carrying out our mission.

The AAFP adheres to the code set forth by the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) Code for Interactions With Companies, Standards for Advertising (Section 9.1) which states:

“Advertising in all Society publications should be easily distinguishable from editorial content (e.g., through labels and color-coding). Advertising should not be designed to look like scientific articles. In Society Journals, the placement of Advertising adjacent to articles or editorial content discussing the Company or product that is the subject of the ad should be prohibited. Advertising in Society Journals should be subject to review by the Editor-in-Chief and overseen by the Society. Society Journals and other Society publications that publish Advertising for CME activities or provide activities through which readers can earn CME credits should also comply with ACCME requirements for Advertising set out in the Standards for Commercial Support.”

Advertising Acceptance

1. The AAFP has the right to refuse any advertisement that, in its sole discretion, is incompatible with its mission or inconsistent with the values of members, the publication/web site or the organization as a whole, and to stop accepting any advertisement previously accepted. Ads are subject to review by the editor and others at the AAFP. In no case shall separate agreements with the AAFP or its subsidiaries supersede this policy.

2. Advertising for the following categories is prohibited:

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Weapons, firearms, ammunition
  • Fireworks
  • Gambling and lottery
  • Pornography or related themes
  • Political and religious advertisements
  • Advertisements that claim to have a “miracle” cure or method
  • Advertisements that make unsubstantiated health claims for the products advertised
  • Advertisements directed at children

3. Advertisements new to AAFP may require pre-approval before they can appear. Refer to the individual publication ad policies or call your advertising representative for more information.

4. Advertisers may be required to submit supporting documentation to substantiate claims. For products not regulated by the FDA or other government agency, technical and/or scientific documentation may be required.

5. Ads for products not approved by the FDA that make any kind of health claims must carry the following disclaimer: “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

6. While the AAFP welcomes and encourages information-rich advertising, advertisements, advertising icons and advertiser logos must be clearly distinguishable from editorial content and may require special labeling to distinguish them as such.

7. In AAFP professional (physician-directed) publications and web sites, the intentional placement of advertising adjacent to articles discussing the company or product that is the subject of the ad is prohibited.

8. Advertisements may not imply endorsement by the AAFP or its publications/web sites except as may be provided for under a separate agreement—in which case advertising must be pre-approved to ensure adherence to the letter and spirit of that separate agreement.

9. The full rules for any market research or promotion associated with an advertisement must be displayed in the ad or available via a prominent link.

10. The following online advertising formats are prohibited:

  • Pop-ups and floating ads.
  • Advertisements that collect personally identifiable information from visitors without their knowledge or permission.
  • Ads that extend across or down the page without the visitor having clicked or rolled-over the ad.
  • Ads that send visitors to another site without the visitor having clicked the ad.

AAFP’s published advertising policies are not exhaustive and are subject to change at any time without notice.

Additional policies specific to individual AAFP publications and web sites may also apply; please additionally refer to those advertising policies for more details.

Please contact your AAFP representative(s) for additional policies that may be in effect for any publications not listed here.

(VPs, October 2010) (Revised December 2011)