Document Type: Commentary
School of Media and Journalism, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
This commentary explores the implications of increased social media marketing by drug manufacturers, based on findings in Hyosun Kim’s article of the major themes in recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning letters and notices of violation regarding online direct-to-consumer promotions of pharmaceuticals. Kim’s rigorous analysis of FDA letters over a 10-year span highlights a relative abundance of regulatory action toward marketer-controlled websites and sponsored advertisements, compared to branded and unbranded social media messaging. However, social media marketing efforts are increasing, as is FDA attention to these efforts. This commentary explores recent developments and continuing challenges in the FDA’s attempts to provide guidance and define pharmaceutical company accountability in marketer-controlled and -uncontrolled claims disseminated through social media.