If you are social media user, it is likely that you have come across celebrities endorsing their favorite products on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You see them raving about their favorite teeth whitening products, juice cleanses, and waist trimmers. But now they are crossing into a new territory: pharmaceuticals.Take Kim Kardashian, for instance. She recently promoted a morning sickness drug, Diclegis, to her 30 million fans and claimed the drug reduces morning sickness symptoms. Kim raved that she is now feeling “a lot better.” She then urged other women to contact their doctor, stating that studies found the drug caused no increased risk to the baby.
The FDA wasn’t too happy about that.
The agency struck back against Kim Kardashian’s post by issuing a warning letter to the drug’s makers. The main issue: the original Instagram post fails to give information about the drug’s risks. The letter ordered that the drug company to “immediately cease misbranding.”
This is but one of many incidents that has occurred on social media which demonstrates the complicated regulatory challenges the FDA now faces. Monitoring drug promotions on social media is particularly difficult, due to the sheer volume of content online and the lightning speed with which it can change.
In the case of Ms. Kardashian, she divulged that she is “partnering” with the drug makers, Duchesnay USA, to help “raise awareness about treating morning sickness.”
While she does provide a link to the safety guidelines within the post, the FDA claims the promotion is still misleading because it fails to elaborate on the drug’s possible side effects and casually suggests the drug is safer than it is.