FDA Releases Social Media Draft Guidance for Medical Companies

Over the course of his career, Craig Gelband has led numerous pharmaceutical departments and developed expertise in medical advertising. Craig Gelband currently serves as the senior medical director for Ogilvy CommonHealth Medical Education and stays at the forefront of developments in medical advertising and communications.

In June 2014, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released draft guidance with recommendations on how pharmaceutical and medical companies should properly engage in social media and online messaging. The first part of the draft guidance discusses how medical companies should appropriately post brand-related information on limited-character sites like Twitter and Google Sitelinks. Among its many best-practice recommendations, the guide states that companies should include a product’s risk-and-benefit information in every communication, as well as a direct link to more product information.

The second part of the FDA’s draft guidance strives to improve the quality of online public health information and explains how companies can address inaccurate third-party posts that appear online. To correct common inaccuracies, such as the distortion of a product label or a misrepresentation of outcomes, a pharmaceutical company can choose to post accurate information alongside the incorrect post. However, the FDA does assert that medical companies are not obligated to correct product information posted on third-party sites like WebMD.

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