By Andrew Jack
Bayer has been sharply reprimanded by the UK pharmaceutical industry regulator for using Twitter to promote two high-profile prescription medicines to the public, in a pioneering case highlighting the dangers of social media for marketing.
The Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority, the self-regulatory arm of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said the German-based company had brought “discredit” on the industry by tweeting the launch of an erectile dysfunction medicine and a cannabis-derived painkiller.
The action highlights fresh scrutiny by international regulators of innovative social marketing techniques alongside more traditional approaches as drug companies seek new ways of selling their medicines.
The UK judgment, which will be published in two medical journals, is an embarrassment to the company, although it is not accompanied by a fine or any other formal penalty.
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