U.S. Representative Billy Long has introduced legislation to update regulations guiding how drug manufacturers communicate product information.
Long is the lead sponsor of H.R. 2479, which would force the FDA to change regulations on how pharmaceutical companies share product information with the general public. The bill would direct the FDA to clearly regulate meaningful, truthful and non-misleading communication of product information on social media. Current regulations discourage drug companies from publishing accurate informational content online, where more than half of Americans go to research medical products.
“My bill will lead to enhanced, effective and accurate communication between drug manufacturers, doctors and patients. It is now the norm to go online, whether on social media or other online platforms, and find needed information on just about anything. One would think something as important as personal decision-making for healthcare would be easy to get economic and scientific data to back up the drug's effectiveness. This bill would simply push FDA to update its regulatory approach to communications to keep up with today's technology," Long said.
Despite the popularity of Facebook and Twitter, drug manufacturers cannot confidently share, without fear of legal repercussions, product information on the online platforms with a link to detailed information. FDA deems the posts as an inadequate portrayal of product risks and benefits due to content limitation and immediate availability of detailed information. However, the FDA uses social media platforms for announcing accurate and truthful drug information.
"The FDA uses Twitter to link its announcements to more comprehensive information. It is commonsense for the federal government to allow drug manufacturers to use these platforms in a similar fashion. My bill will allow the companies, which know their products best, to state introductory information with a link to more details, just like the FDA does."