POST SUMMARY: WebMD is the number one health portal with over 20 million visitors a month but should pharma marketers… more>>
The FDA issued a warning letter to a supplement company because they liked a Facebook page that has off-label claims. Is this a warning shot fired at social media by the FDA ? Hard to say the social media marketing guidance has long been overdue from the FDA and even if they did issue social media marketing guidelines there is a very good chance they would be outdated the day they were issued. This is another reason for pharma to avoid social media instead of going where patients are having conversations.
While many pharma companies are avoiding social media and afraid of the channel some are embracing it and they key lesson here is not to like another page that does not practice good control over content. This means that a pharma company, for example, could get a letter stating if they liked an advocacy group that had off-label claims. It also means that the FDA could require a pharma company to follow up on AE’s via a facebook page they liked.
On facebook you can either “like a page” or “like a post” from someone else. It seems that the FDA is going to ensure that pharma marketers don’t like posts or pages that contain any off label promotional claim. This means that if pharma wants to venture into social media they are going to need someone to take charge of their social media marketing to ensure that posts and likes don’t get out of hand.
The bottom line here is that we are in an unexplored area but an area that has to be mapped. You’re not going to learn by waiting for the FDA and consumers are using social media for health so when you enter the area off the map chart your course and leave a trail for others to follow.