Tweeter Reflux

  • by: |
  • 09/03/2013

What part of "unbranded" didn't you understand?

AstraZeneca has pulled paid advertisements on the Associated Press’s Twitter feed after it was made aware that the unbranded content it believed it paid for actually included the name of a prescription drug.

Note – “paid advertisements.”

Per the Pink Sheet, “At first glance, two Aug. 27 tweets sponsored by AstraZeneca read like straightforward disease awareness ads, but when the tweets are expanded, they reveal the name of its acid reflux treatment Nexium(esomeprazole), appearing to place the company in a more heavily regulated landscape.”

On Aug. 27, the Associated Press ran a tweet sponsored by the pharma on the micro-blogging site that permits 140 character messages including links to websites or pictures. The tweet read: “Sponsored Tweet: 15M+ Americans experience #GERD symptoms each day. Visit AstraZeneca’s YouTube channel”

At the bottom of the tweet users can click a “view summary” tab that pulls up an expanded version of that tweet. This expanded version includes a preview of the YouTube site the company links to: “the official YouTube channel of Nexium (esomeprazole mangesium).”

So the question becomes, when these two components are placed side-by-side, are they still the “unbranded tweets” the company thought it was posting?

Per AZ, the tweets are unbranded and were not sent to FDA for approval. The ads did go through all of AstraZenca’s own internal reviews and approvals to ensure compliance with applicable U.S. laws and regulations.

AstraZeneca: “The sponsored tweet we paid for was the tweet text itself. We weren’t aware that additional text would appear under a summary button. We are going to inform the FDA of this as soon as possible. We will also assess if any changes need to be made.”

That’s the key point – it was a “sponsored” tweet. In other words – a paid advertisement. This isn’t about social media. It’s the same issue that arouse over the FDA letters regarding “sponsored” Google links. “Sponsored” means paid – and “paid” is not social media.

So, please hold the hyperbole about the FDA retarding the use of social media.

Speaking of hyperbole, OPDP panjandrum Thomas Abrams said in late June that the long-awaited guidance is one of the highest priorities for the agency in terms of time and resources.

Down boy.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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