May 11, 2010
On Monday, Center for Digital Democracy -- a not-for-profit consumer advocacy group -- sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg urging the agency to consider certain restrictions on how drug and medical device companies use websites and social media platforms to market their products, Modern Healthcare reports (note: you will have to register to obtain the report).
As FDA works to develop rules on the online marketing of medical products, CDD recommended that the agency consider:
- Prohibiting drug and medical device companies from using space-limited tools -- such as text messages and Twitter -- to market products;
- Preventing companies from using online behavior-tracking technology to gather data on consumers; and
- Requiring drug and device firms to disclose their relationships with health information portals.
With the exception of bullet number three, these recommendations do not take into account the realities of how we communicate today and the behaviors and needs of consumers.
Now more than ever, consumers are skimmers, moving quickly to scan through volumes of information – trying to find meaningful information in minimal time.
Wouldn’t we want to figure out a way to fulfill that need through microblogs like Twitter, in an FDA-compliant way? Might consumers actually appreciate our assistance in gathering information to attempt to serve up more relevant content and message that better meet their needs?
I’d welcome your thoughts on this post, as I think the CDD is off target in this recommendation.
What are your thoughts?