FDA recently issued an unusual warning letter to a dietary supplement company for unapproved marketing claims, with specific reference to the company’s social media use. The letter explains that under federal law, dietary supplements cannot claim to “treat or cure a specific disease or condition,” and because the company had marketed their products as such, they fall subject to FDA’s regulations for pharmaceuticals.

Throughout the letter, FDA references numerous claims made by the company via social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, including the action of “liking” unapproved testimonials from third parties. For example, FDA cited the company for “liking” a woman’s comment on Facebook that read: “It is the best thing for my granddaughters’ bronchitis.” The warning letter states that such claims provide “evidence of intended use in the form of personal testimonials recommending or describing the use of products for the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease.”

FDA has since released a draft guidance document outlining the requirements and limitations for the use of Internet and social media platforms in FDA regulated industry.

To read Alexander Gaffney’s full article on raps.org, click here.