The “Race with Insulin” branded Twitter account is old news (listen to this podcast “Novo Nordisk’s Race With Insulin Campaign: It’s Not Just About Twitter“).
Celebrity racecar driver and Levemir spokesperson Charlie Kimball is still posting interesting and informative tweets such as “Heading to bed. Just used my Levemir® FlexPen®. For Levemir® (insulin detemir [rDNA origin]) prescribing Info: http://tinyurl.com/28dp52d” and Novo Nordisk is making the rounds at industry conferences describing how they were able to do this while staying within FDA regulatory boundaries.
I am not going to complain about “sleazy spam tweets” and wonder what value such tweets are to patients. Instead, I’d like to point out how UNREADBALE the “fair balance” (safety) information is on the Race With Insulin Twitter page, which you can find here. I’ve reproduced that part of the page on the left.
I challenge you to read this either using this image or viewing the original statement on the Race With Insulin Twitter page. It’s impossible!
Novo Nordisk should realize that many people with diabetes are older and may have vision problems made worse by diabetes. For the sake of these patients, shouldn’t Novo make this safety information more readable?
I also think the FDA should take an interest in this and issue Novo Nordisk a “warning letter” as it has done in other cases where fair balance information is not as prominent as benefit information.
To be fair, however, the Twitter page shows no “benefit” statements at all! It just mentions the medical condition and the brand name. Technically, therefore, while the safety information is required by the FDA, it’s probably OK with the FDA that it is unreadable because there is no benefit statements to compare it with. What a dilemma!
This is a case where the pharma company should go beyond what is merely required by the regulators and provide a useful service to the patients who are using their products. What do you think?