New bill to boost pharma's presence on social media

Posted on July 7, 2015 14:35 pm CDT

MedCity News

Meghana Keshavan

You don’t see a ton of pharmaceutical marketing on social media — because it’s been tough to outline a drug’s benefits and risks in, say, the 140 characters allotted by Twitter.

A Missouri Congressman is leading an effort to make the Food and Drug Administration more present and transparent on social media.

In May, Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) introduced HR-2479, a bill that’s meant to:

…facilitate meaningful use, by the sponsors of medical products, of the Internet, including Internet applications and social media, for dissemination of truthful, non-misleading information about medical products.

“It is now the norm to go online, whether on social media or other online platforms, and find needed information on just about anything,” Long said in a recent release about the new bill. “This bill would simply push FDA to update its regulatory approach to communications to keep up with today’s technology.”

The bill would allow pharma companies to use hyperlinks to provide information past the 140-character limit found on Twitter because, as Fierce Pharma Marketing points out:

The FDA’s social media draft guidelines last year included the edict that every brand-oriented communication, tweets included, has to include risks and benefits.

However, there’s dissent in the industry over such a bill, as Fierce BiotechIT notes:

In the weeks and months after the release of the guidance, some ad execs concluded the basic message from the FDA was don’t use Twitter, while BIO, PhRMA and others used the comment period to criticize the risk it would stifle scientific exchanges. Critics of the guidance think they have the Constitution on their side, citing the First Amendment in their broadsides against the FDA.













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