Monday, July 11, 2011

Can biotech/pharma tweet?

The law requires that product claim ads give a "fair balance" of information about drug risks as compared with information about drug benefits.  According to the FDA, "this means that the content and presentation of a drug's most important risks must be reasonably similar to the content and presentation of its benefits.
This does not mean that equal space must be given to risks and benefits in print ads, or equal time to risks and benefits in broadcast ads. The amount of time or space needed to present risk information will depend on the drug's risks and the way that both the benefits and risks are presented."
Bayer recently tweeted the claim for its drug, without adding fair balance.  Certainly with only 140 characters, no fair balance would fit that little amount of space.  However, what if the tweet comes from in country affliates in a market that allows for a claim?  Can we tweet just the brand name without a claim? Should global brands develop social media brand guidelines that apply across the globe, incorporating regulatory restrictions from their strictest markets?  My recommendation: for every global brand, the brand team along with legal and regulatory should come to consensus and develop brand guidelines that are agreeable to all markets.  Perhaps even create a social media review committee to regulatory monitor if those guidelines are followed and to help resolve new issues that come up.

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