The Prescription Medicine Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) has reprimanded Bayer and ruled that they have brought discredit onto the pharmaceutical industry after the social media site twitter was used to post information about vardenafil (Levitra®) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol (Sativex®).
A journalist reported the 'tweets' to the PMCPA and asked whether action would be taken and what concerns the PMCPA had regarding the use of social media sites to promote pharmaceutical products.
The PMCPA have responded strongly and ruled a breach of clause 2 of the voluntary Code of Practice. The PMCPA also referred to Digital Communication Guidance issued in April 2011 which specifically discusses the application of the current Code of Practice to the rapidly evolving use of social media and digital communications.
Action: Clinicians should be aware of this first ever case of a pharmaceutical company being reprimanded for promoting products using social media sites. The PMCPA obviously consider that the Code of Practice extends to all forms and methods of communication.
Thank to Kevin Ashworth for spotting this reprimand
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