Government // Leadership
News
5/13/2010
03:07 PM
50%
50%

FDA Input On Medical E-Marketing Sought

An advocacy group wants digital marketers of medical products to comply with Food and Drug Administration rules on healthcare advertising.




Image Gallery: Wireless Telehealth Brings Medical Help To Those In Need
(click for larger image and for full photo gallery)
As people increasingly turn to the Internet for medical advice, the Center for Digital Democracy has requested that the Food and Drug Administration work with the Federal Trade Commission on development of rules regarding digital media marketing of pharmaceutical products.

In a letter sent to FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg and deputy commissioner Josh Sharfstein, the CDD commended the FDA for conducting a recent inquiry into social media and the digital marketing of drugs, but said these avenues for medical marketing present consumer protection concerns.

Currently, the FTC is mulling over the distinctions between personal and non-personal information in the online context, and is developing best practices on how to protect consumer privacy online with a report expected to be released this summer.

"We urge the FDA to integrate the issues raised by the forthcoming FTC report and comments into its own recommendations on social media," said Jeff Chester, the CDD's executive director and author of the letter.

Once established, the FDA's guidelines could have far-reaching effects on how prescription drugs are presented online, and how online health information sites interact with consumers.

These issues have raised several concerns that the CDD outlined in its letter as well as offering several recommendations. These include:

  • Current FDA guidance on the presentation of risk information for medical products should not be compromised. If an e-marketing tool is unable to satisfy basic consumer-protective measures it should be considered inappropriate for the promotion of pharmaceutical products.

  • Individuals seeking sensitive health-related information for themselves or members of their families may now be exposed to covert online data collection designed to identify, track, profile, and target consumers. Data-driven forms of personalized interactive marketing require the FDA to assess whether new safeguards are required for the promotion of pharmaceuticals and other products.

  • Drug or device companies should not be engaged in any promotion of their products via direct e-mail, text messaging to consumers, blast e-mail, or e-mail listservs, chat rooms, or social networking bulletin boards that are operated by third parties.

  • Disease or condition-specific channels that consumers turn to for information about their personal health matters should clearly disclose any relationships they have with health advertisers. The FDA needs to evaluate the relationship between these online health information portals and their advertisers.

Last November, the FDA held a two-day public hearing, followed by a public comment period, on the use of the Internet and social media tools to promote FDA-regulated medical products which include prescription drugs for humans and animals, prescription biologics, and medical devices.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
InformationWeek surveyed 11,662 IT pros across 30 industries about their pay, benefits, job satisfaction, outsourcing, and more. Some of the results will surprise you.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.