NYT looks at drug ad confusion among marketers

The New York Times spoke with drug makers, a consumer watchdog group, the FDA, and Google about how a lack of specified rules...

The New York Times spoke with drug makers, a consumer watchdog group, the FDA, and Google about how a lack of specified rules for Internet marketing conflicts with the print and TV rules that the FDA currently applies to new media.

Fourteen pharmaceutical companies were warned by the FDA earlier this month for failing to include risk information in search ads. The consensus among communications professionals who spoke with PRWeek is that the FDA needs to develop a clear policy for digital communications. Search ads are used, in part, by pharmaceutical companies as part of a reputation management strategy.

The same sentiment was echoed in today's story.

Mary Ann Belliveau, health industry director at Google, told the NYT that "... the sense in the industry was 'that the F.D.A. sent letters about ‘you shouldn’t do this, you shouldn’t do that,’ as opposed to issuing clear digital guidelines that the companies should follow.'"

Now, companies will only use "generic-sounding Web addresses that redirect users to the brand’s site," an allowance only made for pharmaceutical companies, and are questioning the FDA to evaluate the difference in online marketing techniques.

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