In late February, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued four new warning lettersto companies that utilized Facebook to make or endorse promotional claims about their products. This is on top of the two issued in 2014, totaling six letters in six months.
Obviously, many guidelines, rules and regulations govern the pharmaceutical industry, and rightfully so, as the health and wellness of patients is at stake. With so many parameters, it’s vital that companies within the industry stay up-to-date, lest they find themselves in the spotlight for poor decisions surrounding these procedures.
With regard to these four new warning letters, the companies “liked” or posted unapproved claims on their branded Facebook pages. Whether this was due to lack of bandwidth, lack of knowledge or lack of care, the offenses have consequences, and the FDA certainly took them seriously.
One letter cited BodyHealth.com for selling a “survival kit” marketed to prevent ebola; others cited manufacturers of supplements and an herbal tea marketed to cure cancer. The bottom line, regardless of the reason, is that these companies made serious mistakes. The FDA is monitoring Facebook and calling out noncompliant companies.
At Intouch, we take pride in the fact that our entire team maintains an in-depth understanding of the many guidelines and regulations within our industry. In fact, MM&M named Intouch the “Yoda” of pharma social media, thanks to our ability to guide and counsel clients in this space. With the consequences clear, it’s important for those within pharma to adhere to all regulations and guidelines at all times. And it’s important for pharmaceutical companies to work with agencies like Intouch that understand how to communicate within the social space while staying compliant.
Intouch Solutions constantly monitors the FDA’s social media guidance, along with all other regulations and rules, to ensure we are up-to-date and maintaining a deep knowledge of the industry. We also take time to update our clients on any and all changes occurring.
For pharma companies, there are no big new things to watch out for here. We actually see these letters as positive news for a number of reasons. They shed light on how the FDA is monitoring and regulating social channels, as well as the fact that the FDA is closely watching supplements and other non-prescription industries’ product claims to ensure they follow the rules. That’s a good thing for pharma, because it helps validate all the efforts our industry makes to provide balanced information and stay within the boundaries of responsible marketing.
Contact us for more information on the subject, as well as to learn tips for following the many parameters found in the pharma industry.