As makers of pharmaceuticals and medical devices experiment with ways to market their products online, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering how to apply existing regulations for direct-to-consumer drug or device advertising to emerging media such as social networking sites and blogs.
During a November FDA hearing on the issue, online marketers, Internet companies, and pharmaceutical manufacturers argued in favor of loosening rules to allow makers of medical devices and drugs to use space-limited online media such as sponsored search-engine advertisements. Consumer advocates, however, urged the agency to hold the line on its standards, and maybe even toughen them, noting negative effects of direct-to-consumer marketing that have been documented over the past decade after the agency issued guidance that led to a flood of television advertisements.
Kuehn BM. FDA Weighs Limits for Online Ads. JAMA. 2010;303(4):311-313. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1961