British PMCPA Issues Social Media Guidance for Pharma
In the UK, the promotion of prescription medicines to health professionals is carried out within a robust regulatory framework to support high quality patient care. The pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated. The ASPI Code of Practice for the Pharmaceutical Industry, administered by the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA), is the self-regulatory code which applies, inter alia, to the promotion of prescription medicines to health professionals and to the provision of information about prescription only medicines to the public. The Code reflects and extends beyond UK law.
In stark contrast, digital communication such as social networking sites, twitter, blags (sic), discussion forums, user generated copy and Wikipedia are largely seen as unregulated. Indeed, for many other industries this can be part of the attraction for engaging in this way. The challenge is how these tools can be used by the pharmaceutical industry.
Pharmaceutical companies want, and indeed should be able to use digital media. However, unlike other industries which can promote their products to all, pharmaceutical companies are prohibited from promoting prescription only medicines to the public. Therefore, pharmaceutical companies need to identify ways of utilising digital communications whilst complying with this restriction.
The entire document is attached.