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The FDA announced that it will be conducting an experiment and analyzing its results in terms of the efficiency and effectiveness of online drug ads.
The current Food and Drug Administration or FDA investigation will come amidst the administration’s review of the so-called off-label medicine promotion and advertising.
FDA has announced that it will also be undertaking a study that seeks to determine if the potential future medicine users receive enough information from the online drug ads and links.
The study will target and see if Google ads and link tweets are successful in correctly conveying all the potential risks which the respective drug can cause.
Current campaigns must make sure that they offer a balanced set of information in relation to both their medicine’s efficiency and its risks, all the while respecting the character limit imposed by ads.
With the typical tweet having a 140-character limit, current practices demand that over 70 of the respective characters should be used so as to explain the potential risks and the possible side effects.
In the case of the Google ads, which have recently increased their character limit, regulations ask for two 30 characters long headlines, which will be followed by an 80 character long description.
Still, the current FDA off-label promotion techniques contain some inconsistencies, which the FDA will seek to resolve during both its meeting with pharmaceutic industry representatives and its online drug ads study.
The online research will contain four arms with a pair being dedicated to Google ads and the remaining pair to Twitter links.
Each of the arms used in the two social internet platforms will present two invented prescription drugs, a migraine treatment and another drug meant to help with weight loss.
The study subjects will be presented through online drug ads as they will contain short promotional messages that also include additional information about its risks, which can be accessed through a link.
The involved researchers will seek to find out if the risk information is actually communicated in the online ads or tweets.
As not even the comment phase or its preliminary notice will not finish this year, the results of the FDA online drug ads study will probably quite far away.
Until then, the pharmaceutic industry players will most probably have to continue using the available 2014 guidelines which still leave room for question and are unclear as to what may account as a proper drug list communication.
Pharma companies argue that the current guidelines potentially leave room for interpretations which the FDA has no problem in noticing and taxing as it was seen in the 2012 GlaxoSmithKline case.
As the decision to change the guidelines and the study results seem to still be a long way in the making, in remains to be seen how the change in online drug ads regulations will affect users.
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