Government Regulations on Pharma – Social Media

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Government regulations cannot be ignored in any form of business; especially when it comes to pharmaceutical industries. In recent months, it has become common practice for medical professionals to offer medical advice to patients through social media. Patients are frequently discussing medicines and healthcare best practices on Twitter and WebMD.

Medical doctors are taking the lead on social media, unlike pharmaceutical agencies and professionals. Even with all the empowerment in recent years, the pharmaceutical industry has not been able to participate on social media. This limitation doesn’t come from regulations or laws. The main hindering factor is undefined regulatory guidelines that prevent successful marketing. Marketing today means eminent presence on social media and other websites.

The FDA was reported to have issued warning letters for fourteen companies in April 2011. The reason was failure of compliance with best practices. They had violated regulations governing presentation of a fair balance between benefits and side effects of medicines in advertisements. In order to resolve this problem, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America proposed a new best practice. It was suggested to place a universal logo on social media sites. This best practice will indicate whether that information meets FDA regulations or not.

Compliance with this regulation has proved beneficial in the past few months. On social media networks wherever medicines are discussed, people must check for the PhRMA. An additional benefit of this best practice is that pharmaceutical companies began to be moderate and responsive to social media. This facilitated marketing of genuine drugs and educating patients about both benefits and side effects. Patients who use social media as a means of obtaining healthcare can easily identify authentic FDA approved pharmaceutical information.

These new regulations didn’t only make things better for pharma-social media. It also ensured best practices with compliance with the FDA regulations. In the long run, this has led to introduction of other best practices to assist pharmaceutical agencies on social media. For instance, new software applications have been designed in conformity with these regulations to protect both patient and the company.

Therefore, abiding by the regulation to ensure a balance in information available via advertisement and while marketing is very important. This best practice cannot be ignored. Failure of compliance with this will lead to legal action and consequences.

Further reading: Corporate Governance | Audit | Performance Improvement

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