With an explosion in the use of social media in the past five
years, the use of services such as Facebook and Twitter is of
growing interest to pharmaceutical and medical device companies. As
was shown recently with Bayer's breach of the Association of
the British Pharmaceutical Industry Code (by 'tweeting'
about the launch of new drugs), dangers are ever-present for
pharmaceutical companies when using social media. The same is true
in Australia, where a tweet or status update on Facebook may breach
the prohibition against promoting to the general public under the
Medicines Australia Code of Conduct. One only needs to view the
definitions of 'promote' and 'promotion, promotional or
promotional claim' in the Code of Conduct to see that it does
not take much to gain Medicines Australia's attention in this
Guidance is needed for the industry and Medicines Australia is
currently seeking comment from a number of industry members about
the revision of the Code of Conduct to include greater guidance and
rules for interactions in the social media sphere. How these
provisions will end up in the text of the Code of Conduct remains
to be seen, and we hope to provide you with significant detail of
the changes, as well as other areas for concern in the social media
sphere, in the next edition of Life Sciences Spotlight.
This publication is intended as a general overview and
discussion of the subjects dealt with. It is not intended to be,
and should not used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any
specific situation. DLA Piper Australia will accept no
responsibility for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of
DLA Piper Australia is part of DLA Piper, a global law firm,
operating through various separate and distinct legal entities. For
further information, please refer to www.dlapiper.com
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