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FDA Cites Pinterest in Warning Letters

Jennifer Starr

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The FDA recently cited three companies for concerns over false claims made while marketing products: Natural Solutions Foundation of New Jersey, dōTERRA International of Utah and Young Living of Utah.

These warning letters are notable as the FDA has never before mentioned Pinterest as a social platform of violation. However, two of the three companies listed above have Pinterest accounts which housed false claims about their products.  

Raps.org reported that Young Living of Utah claimed their product could treat arthritis, lupus, arteriosclerosis, hypertension, cancer, insomnia, heart disease and more.

dōTERRA International of Utah stated their peppermint oil could be used to treat asthma, autism, brain injury, bacterial infections, fever, cold sores and other ailments.

Both Young Living of Utah and dōTERRA International of Utah appear to have removed their Pinterest pages completely.

Is Pinterest Safe for Pharma?

As discussed in a prior post, there are a few corporate pharma pages currently in the Pinterest space; however, REMICADE® is the only branded pharma presence to emerge.

The page has 33 followers and seven boards, one of which is entirely dedicated to ISI.

Pinterest can help increase a brand’s exposure and reach a wider audience with high-quality, easily digestible and shareable snippets. But, as with all social media platforms, there are certain limitations that pharma must understand, such as the fact that comments from users cannot be moderated (although they can be deleted after they are posted). This can pose extra risk for brand discussions in this space.

Because of the inability to moderate user content before it is published, we do not advise pharma companies to launch a Pinterest channel as their initial platform in the social space. We recommend considering safer social platforms with moderating ability and then reevaluating Pinterest after a presence has been established on other channels. Baby steps can be implemented, such as adding a “Pin It” button to pharma blog posts. This allows users to interact with your brand and share content without requiring you to set up an official Pinterest page.

Read more about pharma’s potential use of Pinterest in these past blog posts.

 

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