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FDA is setting rules for drug companies to advertise with social media

Marketplace Staff Dec 20, 2010
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FDA is setting rules for drug companies to advertise with social media

Marketplace Staff Dec 20, 2010
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TEXT OF STORY

STACEY VANEK SMITH: The Food and Drug Administration is hammering out rules for drug companies that want to advertise on social media sites. And here’s something you don’t hear everyday: the drug makers themselves are pushing for the rules.

Nancy Marshall Genzer explains.


NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: More and more Americans are turning to social media sites for information on medications. Drug makers want to join in the fun, with ads. But there are obstacles. Like, how do you cram this into a 140 character tweet?

FROM DRUG AD: Other risks include dizziness upon standing, decrease in white blood cells, which can be serious.

There’s not much room for drug warnings in a two-line Google ad, either. Drug makers have improvised, adding links on side effects. John Mack publishes the Pharma Marketing Blog. He says drug companies are still holding back from blogs.

JOHN MACK: If the industry doesn’t get involved in this, they’re really going to be marginalized in that space.

The FDA has already called some drug companies’ social media marketing misleading. But there are no rules, yet. Les Funtleyder is a healthcare strategist at Miller Tabak.

LES FUNTLEYDER: They see a marketing opportunity, but they also recognize that there are many ways to run afoul of the regulators.

The FDA says social media guidelines will be out by the end of this year.

In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

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