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FDA shares new #socialmedia guidance

Latest recommendations cover Twitter, paid search links and correcting misinformation

Digital pharma social mediaA mere four and a half years after its public hearing on social media and the internet, the FDA has finally addressed how pharmaceutical companies can use channels like Twitter to talk about their prescription products.  

How to reconcile that social network's space constraints is just one of the topics addressed in two new pieces of draft guidance from the US regulator that look set to be pored over by those in pharma marketing and communications.  

They're the latest in an on-going series recommendations from the agency and follow its release at the start of this year of guidance on 'interactive promotional media' as it strives to meet a July 2014 deadline for the release of guidance on the internet and product promotion.  

Thomas Abrams, director of FDA's Office of Prescription Drug Promotion, wrote on the FDA's blog that the two new pieces of guidance aim to “help manufacturers and their representatives accurately communicate online about prescription drugs and medical devices”.  

Twitter and paid search  

The first guidance covers “internet/social media platforms with character space limitations”, which includes not only the likes of Twitter but also paid search results links on Google and Yahoo.  

In particular it provides recommendations on how to present risk-benefit information – the key message being companies should include a link to a “more complete discussion” of any risks associated with their products.  

“We understand that communicating on electronic internet sites with character space limitations can be challenging. But, no matter the Internet source used, benefit claims in product promotions should be balanced with risk information,” Adrams said.  

Setting the record straight  

Correcting independent third-party misinformation” is the focus of the second guidance.  

Here the FDA recommends any corrections should address all misinformation in “a clearly defined portion of a forum on the internet or social media”, and that this applies whether the misinformation is positive or negative.  

The two new pieces of guidance are not the regulator's last word on the subject and Abrams said the FDA would continue to actively review, analyse, and develop to the use of social media platforms and the internet.  

“FDA sees social media as an important resource for industry and is committed to developing additional guidance for drug and device manufacturers that outline the agency's current thinking,” he concluded.

18th June 2014

From: Sales, Marketing, Regulatory

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