239156 EDTCA 2.0: Global regulation and public health issues associated with interactive internet media

Monday, October 31, 2011: 9:24 AM

Timothy Mackey, MAS , School of Public Health (SDSU), Institute of Health Law Studies (Cal Western School of Law), San Diego State University-University of California, San Diego and Institute of Health Law Studies, Cal Western School of Law, San Diego, CA
Bryan Liang, MD, JD, PhD , School of Medicine (UCSD), Institute of Health Law Studies (Cal Western School of Law), University of California, San Diego, California Western School of Law, San Diego, CA
In the era of globalization and advances in health communication technology, Direct-to-Consumer Advertising has become the fastest growing form of pharmaceutical marketing. Due to inadequate regulation in the U.S., DTCA is global through the use of the Internet and other forms of interactive media not constrained by geopolitical boundaries and may circumvent current DTCA prohibitions. This phenomenon also coincides with the increasing use by consumers of accessing health related information online and the emergence of web-based technologies promoting information sharing and social interaction known as “Web 2.0.” This form of “eDTCA 2.0” has yet to be adequately regulated by U.S. regulators and presents potential negative implications for global public health and health economics. We assess the prevalence of eDTCA 2.0 in the top grossing pharmaceutical firms and products. Upon our review we find that of pharmaceutical companies reviewed (10/10, 100%) have presence in eDTCA 2.0 sites of Facebook, Twitter/Friendster, sponsored blogs, and RSS feeds. 80% (8/10) have dedicated YouTube Channels; and 80% (8/10) developed healthcare communication-related mobile applications. For reviewed drugs, 90% (9/10) have dedicated websites, 70% (7/10) have dedicated social media pages, 90% (9/10) have health communications-related applications, and 80% (8/10) have DTCA television advertisements on web. We also found 90% (9/10) of these drugs had non-corporate eDTCA 2.0 marketing presence by illegal online drug sellers. Reform efforts need to take into account these concerns and appropriately limit eDTCA dissemination, increase transparency, and integrate safety communication to appropriately recognize and confront this growing global health concern.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Assess the scope and prevalence of social media in the current environment of pharmaceutical online direct-to-consumer advertising Identify the potential dangers of unregulated online direct-to-consumer advertising through social media by pharmaceutical companies and online illicit drug sellers Formulate a policy proposal to appropriately limit inappropriate online direct-to-consumer advertising through social media in order to promote patient safety

Keywords: Social Marketing, Health Law

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have researched and published in the field of assessing the legal framework of direct-to-consumer advertising and the prevalence of new forms of DTCA in social media. I also have a masters degree in health law and am a current doctoral student in global health.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Partnership for Safe Medicines Drug Safety Fellowship from non-profit organization advocating online drug safety

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.