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WOMMA To FDA: Please Give Us Social Media Guidelines

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The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) has submitted written testimony to the FDA, in which they asked for “an appropriate roadmap so [health care and pharmaceutical companies] companies can better access and navigate social media including popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter.”

The new testimony doesn’t come as a surprise. The FDA held hearings on the issue this past fall, and this WOMMA testimony comes at the end of the FDA’s open comment period.

John Bell, President of the Board of WOMMA and Managing Director, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide told PRNewser this past November, in reference to the public hearings, “We’re spending time today in initial discussions that is as much about how the process should unfold as it is what should be the precise guidelines.” Read: this could take a while.

Jennifer Dowling, Senior Copywriter at Digitas, summed up the situation in a comment to PRNewser this past fall: “Where extreme legal teams and extreme social opportunities meet, circle, but are at the moment unable to touch…”

We’ve posted the four core principles outlined in the WOMMA testimony after the jump.


1) Companies have a fundamental interest in listening and participating in social media platforms concerning the medicines or products they provide, and the conditions these medicines and products address.

2) Governmental regulation concerning such participation must only relate to those communications that constitute commercial promotional activities sponsored by the companies.

3) Any governmental regulation concerning such commercial promotional activity must be narrowly and appropriately tailored to ensure that those communications are truthful, transparent, balanced and not deceptive.

4) Any such governmental regulation must account for the nature and navigational realities of various social media platforms, such as the ability to use links and space constraints in certain environments or platforms.

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