Contributed By Jones Day
Generally, the same laws, regulations and self-regulatory codes concerning pharmaceutical advertising will also apply to advertising on the internet for medical products. In addition, the Commentary to the JPMA Promotion Code provides specific rules concerning access restrictions on internet-accessible information related to prescription-only medicines.
As advertising prescription-only medicines to the general public is prohibited under the Standards, when a pharmaceutical company provides healthcare professionals with product-related information concerning prescription-only medicines through the internet, the company must restrict access to the relevant websites so that only healthcare professionals have access to such information.
The question, therefore, is what is considered a sufficient access restriction. In this regard, the Commentary provides the conditions set forth below; if all these conditions are satisfied, then an access restriction will be considered sufficient:
As long as a pharmaceutical company uses a sufficient access restriction, it is not required to use any particular method of establishing passwords.
Generally, the same laws, regulations and self-regulatory codes concerning pharmaceutical advertising will also apply to pharmaceutical advertising on social media. The JPMA Code of Practice in particular describes several issues to which pharmaceutical companies must pay close attention when advertising through social media.
The JPMA Code of Practice defines 'social media' as media formed by interactive communication mainly through the internet, where the users, including individuals, send various information. The main feature of social media is that an individual can easily and promptly send information to the general public. Due to this characteristic of the medium, inappropriate information, including false information, may be broadly transmitted to the general public without any confirmation of the accuracy of the information. Therefore, the JPMA Code of Practice requires member companies to take all responsibility for such social media content and before advertising on social media the companies must confirm that all relevant subsidiaries, parent companies, affiliates, planning companies, agencies, employees, etc, comply with the JPMA Code.
Further, the JPMA Code of Practice requires that member companies pay special attention to the following:
As mentioned in 7.1 Regulation of Advertising of Medical Products on the Internet, pharmaceutical companies must include access restrictions on websites containing advertising, or other information intended for healthcare professionals, since advertising prescription-only medicines to the general public is prohibited.
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