According to an updated version of Danish guidelines on digital medias for promotion of medicinal products, companies may now be held responsible for their employees’ activities on social media.
By Susanne Tovborg-Jensen
If an employee “likes” or “shares” a post on a public media regarding a new medicinal product or shares information about a prescription-only product, this may be considered illegal promotion towards the general public.
It is the Ethical Committee for the Pharmaceutical Industry in Denmark (ENLI) who has issued the updated version of the guidelines regarding the usage of digital medias for promotion of medicinal products aimed at Healthcare Professionals (HCP).
According to ENLI, the rule is that an employee in a pharmaceutical company is representing the company, when communicating on the social media including the internet, regarding subjects related to the company. This is because the place of employment appears from e.g. the employee’s LinkedIn profile.
A specification to the broad interpretation of promotion
According to ENLI, the background for the new guidelines is the broad interpretation of “promotion” being “any form of door-to-door information, canvassing activity or inducement designed to promote the prescription, supply, sale or consumption of medicinal products” and because information about a medicinal product communicated by a third party could be regarded as advertising even though this third party is acting on its own and is independent of the manufacturer or seller of the medicine.
ENLI is a self-regulating body established by the Danish Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry (Lif), The Danish Generic Medicines Industry Association (IGL) and The Danish Association of Parallel Distributors (PFL).