FDA: The social media guidance puzzle will be complete by July

Forget a unified theory of social media from the FDA. It's going to be more of a puzzle-piece approach. As Regulatory Focus reports, the FDA plans to issue several more sets of rules for pharma companies using Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, et al.

Those puzzle pieces will address some still-burning questions for pharma marketers. For one, how to handle missives and promos delivered in formats where space is finite--Twitter, for instance, and its 140-character limit. Or Google advertising, which got 13 drugmakers in hot water a few years ago.

Then there's the linkage issue. There's been some argument over the number of clicks needed to get from a quick-hit promo to full disclosure of a product's risks. And are pharma companies obligated to troll the Internet for misinformation about its products, and correct said misinformation?

All this and more will be forthcoming, FDA spokesman Stephen King told the Pharma Marketing Blog. The guidance documents will be released as they're finished to get them into circulation ASAP. And all of them will be revealed by a long-ago-set deadline of July 9, 2014.

The first puzzle piece already hit: Earlier this week, the agency turned out a guidance document outlining which sorts of social-media communications need to be submitted for FDA review. The when and how of that guidance was most interesting, and perhaps relief-inducing--submissions don't have to come before tweets and posts, and apparently can be submitted without a lot of screenshot backup.

"This is just the first little piece," King told the Pharma Marketing Blog, going on to say, "While this is a significant guidance for promotion using social media, FDA remains highly committed to providing guidance and clarification on the remaining topics in terms of both FDA time and human resources."

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