On Thursday, FDA opened a 60-day public comment period on strategies to study the impact of online pharmaceutical advertising on consumers, according to a Federal Register notice, Modern Healthcare reports.
Because most drug promotion rules were written when marketers primarily used print and broadcast media, the agency is trying to assess what kind of effect Internet-based and social media advertising has on the behavior of consumers.
According to the FDA notice, studies of pharmaceutical company marketing campaigns suggest that "risk information is often presented less prominently and in fewer locations" online and sometimes is "incomplete and written at very high literacy levels."
FDA plans to assess:
- Different ways of presenting brand-name drug risk and benefit information online;
- How special features, such as video testimonials, affect consumers' understanding of a product's risks and benefits; and
- How consumer perceptions can be influenced when websites featuring a product link to other organizations' sites (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 4/28).