Marketers from some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies have begun hyping their drugs on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Pfizer, the company behind Viagra, already has 1,239 fans on Facebook, and AstraZeneca, makers of Prilosec, has 822 followers on Twitter. Kerry Grens of the Scientist dropped in on a conference designed to help big-pharma marketers understand the benefits and pitfalls of social media.
The pharmaceutical information being spread on the internet has begun to push the bounds of legality. “Currently,” Grens writes, “the FDA has no guidelines explicitly addressing adverse event reports on networking sites like Facebook.” If a commenter complains of an unintended side effect, for example, drug makers might not know whether they’re legally obliged to look into the case. And, if enough people complain of “black tongue” or “anal leakage,” Facebook might not look like such a great marketing tool after all.
Source: The Scientist