Self-Care in a Digital World: Harnessing Online Advertising for Better Healthcare

Brussels, 13 June 2024 In its latest position paper, AESGP takes stock of the evolving landscape of self-care product advertising, emphasizing the shift from traditional to digital platforms. By analysing challenges and opportunities presented by both media, AESGP proposes recommendations to ensure responsible and trustworthy online advertising for self-care products.

The digital revolution, marked by increasing internet access and digital literacy, has changed the way we consume media and information. This transformation has been accompanied by a significant shift in advertising from traditional media to online and interactive platforms.

Several legislative developments at EU level and in Member States address the evolution of the Internal Market and create a safer digital space where the rights of users of digital services are protected. More than ever, it is important to have adaptable regulatory frameworks to protect users in a dynamic environment.

Key Recommendations for a Safer Digital Space

To ensure responsible and trustworthy online advertising for self-care products, AESGP proposes a set of guidelines aimed at various stakeholders:

  • Regulators: Foster a level playing field; ensure proper enforcement mechanisms with dissuasive sanctions; develop flexible regulatory instruments for a rapidly changing tech landscape.
  • E-commerce platforms and social media networks: Ensure regulatory compliance; enhance monitoring capabilities; boost public digital and health literacy.
  • Consumer health industry: comply with relevant laws, regulations, and industry standards; ensure factual and scientifically supported content; maintain advertising transparency; collaborate to eliminate misleading ads; consider co-regulation or self-regulation models such as in Spain (“Sello Anefp”) or in Germany (INTEGRITAS).
  • For individual consumers and the public: get informed on how to safely access information and identify false, unsafe sources of information; follow legislative developments; report suspicious ads.


Self-care product advertising has a value that goes far beyond driving sales. When done correctly and combined with professional advice, it plays a crucial role in supporting self-care, improving health literacy, and ensuring better use of healthcare resources. AESGP is committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure that the opportunities offered by online advertising and digital technologies are properly exploited to improve self-care and healthcare outcomes.


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