Several months ago, the PAAB (Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board) held 3 social media marketing sessions called “Social Media Marketing in Pharma: What Works in Canada”, twice in Toronto and once in Montreal, where they provided some of their insights on Canadian regulations regarding pharmaceutical social media marketing. This meeting even had a representative from Health Canada as a panel member.
Then earlier this month, they presented even more guidance at the Eye For Pharma eMarketing Canada conference. Just yesterday, they made their slides from the conference available on the PAAB website: PAAB Guidance on Social Media Marketing (61 slides). Enable audio on your computer as each slide has audio. The audio track on each slide is by Patrick Massad (Chief Review Officer at the PAAB). Beware – the file is huge. It slowed my computer down for several minutes. But once you go through the slides and audio, you will find that it is full of valuable information, some of which was not presented at the recent eMarketing conference due to lack of time.
The PAAB has also made itself more available to the Canadian pharma community by setting up a LinkedIn, FaceBook and Twitter profile. The PAAB has been using these avenues to not only update the industry on PAAB activities, but also to share information about social media from other countries. On Twitter, the PAAB even posted a request for people to join one of their social networs and to start a discussion.
As far as I know, the level of outreach by the PAAB to the pharma industry with regards to guidance on the regulations that impact social media marketing is the first of its kind worldwide. Please correct me if this is inaccurate. I am aware of the FDA meetings held a while back, but so far, no guidance has been made available since those meetings.
Whether we like the regulations or not, and whether we feel the regulations are doing justice to the mantra of social media being open for engagement by all stakeholders, we have to give credit to the PAAB for their efforts in helping the Canadian pharma industry understand what we can and cannot do within the legal framework. I am not a fan of the current Rx DTC regulations in Canada. They are outdated, and I would like to see these regulations re-visited and modified. But I don’t blame the PAAB for those regulations. They did not make the rules. They just help us work within them.
The only recommendation that I would have for the PAAB (and Rx&D as well for that matter), is to include something about social media guidelines as part of their overall set of guidelines. Perhaps that is in the works and I am just not aware.
Do you think the PAAB is doing a good job in educating the Canadian pharmaceutical industry on how to apply current regulations to social media campaigns? Do you have any suggestions for them to improve their outreach to the industry?
Disclaimer: I have been involved with the PAAB on various social media activities, but this post is my personal opinion. The PAAB has not had any input or influence in the content of this article.
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