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Bayer's Yaz Tests 'FDA-Friendly' Google Ads

Pharmaceutical giant Bayer appears to be taking Google up on its recent offer to create new, 'FDA-Friendly' online pharmaceutical ads with the marketing of birth-control pill Yaz.

The search-engine first introduced the format - which has yet to be sanctioned by regulators - last week at the Food and Drug Administration's two-day conference on social media.

During the gathering, which gave the FDA more of a forum to listen to pharma companies than to set policy, the agency gave little indication whether it would adopt Google's - or any other industry proposals to address online pharmaceutical marketing concerns.  It also did not react to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association of America's suggestion to create a logo for communications that meet FDA standards and requirements.

Pushing Forward

Bayer apparently is not waiting for feedback from the FDA, according to Medical Marketing & Media, which reports that sponsored links for branded birth-control pill Yaz are appearing in yellow-highlighted boxes atop certain Google searches. True to Google's pitch, these ads feature a headline linking to the product site, a line of text advising viewers to "Read important product info here," and a bottom line reading "Click to see full safety and prescribing information, including boxed warning." This is followed by a "fixed" link to physician labeling.

Bayer was among the 14 companies to receive a letter from the FDA's Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising and Communications in April, warning it that sponsored links for Yaz omitted certain risk information.

Wait and See

It will be interesting to see how the FDA reacts, noted Pharma Marketing Blog, which cites the "Applying FDA Regulations to Online Marketing" guide: "Products with boxed warnings do not have the same flexibility in terms of creating reminder ads, as this form of ad is not permitted by the FDA for such drugs. While many boxed warning drugs have and continue to use branded reminder ads for search, it is not advisable given the current environment."

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