In addition to general truth-in-advertising rules, the marketing of healthcare goods and services can be subject to a range of legislation, regulations and compliance agencies, depending on the statements made by the commercial or the product or service being offered. Health practitioners and drug manufacturers need to follow strict guidelines on ads. Healthcare advertisers must also comply with laws that limit how doctors receive patient referrals, which may extend to ads, and carefully protect any patient details.
## Healthcare Regulations
Healthcare marketing is governed by a number of laws, regulations and government departments. The Food and Drug Administration sets guidelines for prescription drugs and certain other medical services, such as eye surgery. The Federal Trade Commission will investigate advertisements for over-the-counter drugs and other health advertising products, such as decreased cancer risks or higher purity rates.
## Marketing Pharmaceuticals
For drugs, FDA regulations allow the ad to inform the customer at least one approved drug use, its generic name, and the most significant-if not any-of the known risks and side effects. Pharmaceutical advertisements don’t have to tell customers whether there’s a generic version of the drug, whether there’s a similar drug, whether lifestyle modifications will actually better cure the disease, how common the disease is, how quickly the drug works, or how many people who take the drug are likely to see improvements in their condition.
## Healthcare Ads
As any marketed product or service, healthcare ads must comply with all truth-in-advertising rules, including local offenses typically imposed by the Attorney General at the state level. According to marketing firm Healthcare Performance Strategies, marketers should be prepared to record proof that supports their claims and commercials should be vigilant about promising outcomes. A medical care provider should also not be advertised as a doctor, unless it is accredited.
## Physician Marketing and Social Media
Doctor ads can come under the rules of Stark Law, which restrict the way in which doctors may get referrals. Such laws will restrict how doctors will appear in their advertising in hospitals and medical centres. Marketing campaigns, such as those using social media sites, will also need to comply with HIPAA’s data security regulations. Healthcare Success Strategies notes that even defining medical situations in generic, confidential language may be an invasion of privacy.Read More