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What You Need to Know About Prescription Drug Advertising on Social Media

It isn’t a thirty-second television commercial or a full magazine page. Instead, a pharmaceutical company may be advertising its prescription drug in 140 characters or less, or in a Facebook status update. There isn’t as much time or room to relay all of the important information about the drug, but should that change the rules?

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) Says No

In June 2014, the FDA issued draft guidance to the pharmaceutical industry about advertising prescription drugs and medical products on social media sites. The guidance was issued because, regardless of how information is provided to the public, the public deserves, “…clear, accurate, truthful, and non-misleading information.”

The burden is on the pharmaceutical company to provide that information, even if it chooses to advertise its product on social media sites and paid search result links rather than in more traditional forums. Thus, the FDA is providing two specific pieces of guidance to drug companies:

  • First, the FDA says, “…no matter the Internet source used, benefit claims in product promotions should be balanced with risk information. And companies should provide a way for consumers to gain direct access to a more complete discussion of risks associated with their products.”
  • Second, the FDA recommends that drug companies correct any misinformation put out by third parties on the Internet. They may do this by dedicating a section of their website to this task.

More details about the guidance is provided on the FDA website.

What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt by a Drug Company’s Failure to Warn

The guidance is nice, but it might provide little comfort if you are recovering from a prescription drug side effect at Broadlawns Medical Center, Mercy Hospital Medical Center, or another Des Moines medical facility. If you have already been hurt then now is the time to find out more about your legal rights and possible financial recovery. Please browse our testimonials to find out more about how we’ve helped other patients who have been hurt and please contact us directly to find out more about your own potential recovery.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham