Bayer found guilty of first pharma social media breach

Bayer has been found guilty of the first digital marketing breach of the ABPI’s Code of Practice.

The chemical and pharmaceutical company was reprimanded over its use of Twitter. Specifically, two of its product-related tweets were seen by the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) to have promoted prescription-only medicines to the public.

The tweets detailed Bayer’s erectile dysfunction treatment Levitra and its multiple sclerosis spasticity drug Sativex.

The PMCPA will run adverts about the case in industry magazines the Nursing Standard, the BMJ and the Pharmaceutical Journal after Bayer breached clause two of the code, namely “bringing discredit upon, and reducing confidence in, the pharmaceutical industry.

Other pharmaceutical companies should not be dissuaded from using social media as a result of the case. In fact, the case merely serves as a reminder that the guidelines are in place for the good of the industry, and they need to be adhered to.

Indeed, the PMCPA ruling on the case did state that the use of social media to provide information to the public was a legitimate activity for UK pharma, so long as the material complied with its code of practice.

For more information about the code of practice, visit

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