The FDA recently released two draft guidance documents on the use of social media platforms by drug and device manufacturers. Guidance on the inclusion of risk and benefit information is one of the most important pieces to come out of the documents. The draft states that the character limitation on certain social media platforms does not excuse companies from complying with all relevant regulations to promotional messages.
What this means is that pharmaceutical marketers will essentially not be able to use Twitter. With only 140 characters allowed, the risk and benefit information will easily take up most of those characters. According to Digitas Health, most risk and benefit disclosures would be around 135 characters, which leaves room for only one four letter word. Hard to express much of value in a four letter word.
While the documents don’t explicitly say not to use Twitter, the regulations make it nearly impossible to use Twitter as the platform was intended. Including hashtags, having conversations, and retweeting are out of the question when every message needs to include 135 characters of risks and benefits. There is no benefit of using Twitter to a brand, if the company is only able to send one word tweets.
There is a chance at changing these regulations, as there is room for comments and feedback on the FDA’s draft guidance. Fierce PharmaMarketing suggests that the best way to change the limitations would be for Twitter to speak up. Apple, for example, apparently recently worked with the FDA while developing the HealthKit for iOS, and the resulting guidelines turned out to be favorable for app developers. Twitter could proactively reach out to the FDA, helping them understand the platform better, and then we would all have a better solution for attaching risk and benefit disclosures while allowing true communication between brands and consumers in all social media arenas.
Jenn LeBlanc, CEO & Founder of ThinkResults Marketing, works with tech CEOs and CMOs to drive results. Whether it is a 350% increase in web traffic, a 1400% increase in online leads, or a 400% increase in conversion rates, Jenn delivers results.
Contact Jenn for a free 30-minute consultation about your marketing project. Start driving your results today.