* PhRMA recommends logo ahead of FDA meeting
* FDA looks at how social media promotes drugs, devices
* Agency looking at whether more regulation needed
* Google, Pfizer among those sending representatives
By Deepa Seetharaman
WASHINGTON, Nov 9 A drug industry group on
Monday urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to adopt a
universal safety symbol for Internet content containing
FDA-approved information about a medicine or medical device.
The proposal from the Pharmaceutical Research and
Manufacturers of America, which represents some of the biggest
drug makers in the world, came ahead of an FDA public meeting
this week on how FDA-regulated prescription drugs and medical
devices are promoted in social media and on the Internet.
PhRMA said the logo would be coupled with a link leading
Web users to FDA-regulated information about the device or
drug. Whether that link would go to the FDA's or drug maker's
site or another forum is up for debate.
"We're intentionally not filling in all the blanks," said
Jeffrey Francer, PhRMA's assistant general counsel, in an
interview. "We're introducing a concept."
Francer, who will be speaking at the meeting, said during a
media briefing on Monday that the FDA should set the conditions
on the use of the logo by drug makers.
The FDA's two-day meeting, starting Thursday, will include
speakers from Eli Lilly (LLY.N), Pfizer (PFE.N), Sanofi-Aventis
(SASY.PA), Google (GOOG.O), consumer groups and marketing
"The reason the FDA is having these hearings is because of
widespread concern about the promotion and marketing of
prescription drugs," said Steven Findlay, senior health policy
analyst at Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer
Findlay plans to advocate at the meeting for the placement
of a link to the FDA's online content on Web sites highlighting
a specific drug or device when the site is owned or supported
by makers of that product.
During the hearing, the FDA will explore how the agency's
regulation of advertising and promotional labels should be
applied to the Internet and social media, and whether added
regulation is needed.
Topics that will be discussed include what online messages
drug makers are responsible for, how companies can achieve
balance in ads within the confines of a 140-character Twitter
message and when Internet linking is appropriate or
(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)