Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tales From the PMPCA contd. - The Case of the Botox Tweet

An anonymous, non-contactable complainant alleged that a tweet sent by an Allergan employee to a patient organisation and an individual representing that organisation was in breach of the Code.  The tweet referred to Botox and stated ‘… we could do something around stroke rehab …’.  Botox was indicated, inter alia, for certain spasticity associated with stroke in adults.

The detailed response from Allergan is given below.

The Panel noted Allergan’s submission that its employee had used a personal Twitter account to respond to a tweet from a friend who worked for an agency that worked for the patient organisation.  The tweet referred to Botox and rehabilitation in stroke.  The Panel noted that although the tweet was intended to be a private message to a friend, tweets were much more public and so in that regard it considered that a prescription only medicine had been advertised to the public.  A breach of the Code was ruled as acknowledged by Allergan.  High standards had not been maintained.  A further breach of the Code was ruled.

The Panel noted that the tweet was sent in error by an individual using a personal account and without the knowledge or authority of Allergan.  Pharmaceutical company employees needed to ensure that business relationships and personal relationships were kept very separate particularly when such business relationships were subject to the Code.  In the Panel’s view pharmaceutical company employees needed to be extremely cautious when using social media.  Allergan’s company policy clearly stated no Allergan employee might comment in a social media forum about an Allergan product or business activity.  The Panel thus noted that Allergan had a policy in place which should have prevented the tweet being sent.  The Panel considered that Allergan had been badly let down by its employee.  Nonetheless the Panel did not consider that this case warranted a ruling of a breach of Clause 2 which was a sign of particular censure and reserved for such.  No breach of that clause was ruled.

Posted via email from Jack's posterous

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