By now everyone is aware that the FDA has missed its SECOND deadline for issuing some form of guidance to the drug industry for the promotion of Rx products via the Internet and specifically via social media (see, for example, “No News is No News – DDMAC Fails to Produce Guidance“).

Of course, further delay in issuing such guidance is very frustrating for the dozens of stakeholders who the FDA invited in November 2009 to make presentations at a public hearing.

To highlight that frustration, on April 1, 2011 (April Fools Day), I created a bogus PhRMA Statement, which included these memorable lines:

“Due to FDA’s limited resources and an increasing workload, FDA should seek out help developing social media guidance. PhRMA intends to continue to serve as a constructive partner in that regard. So why not give us a call or tweet us? We’ll be happy to draft some guidelines tout de suite.”


“FDA says it wants the draft guidances ‘well thought out’ when they are issued. I mean, how difficult can it be? PhRMA Intern will be returning after the Spring semester is over and we can assign her to the project.”


“FDA’s failure to act in this matter is a slap in the face of the pharmaceutical industry, which urgently requires social media guidance. ‘Let’s Build Something Together’ is a famous tag line from Lowe’s Home Improvement. That sums up our position with regard to building FDA social media guidance as well.”

The joke was successful as far as April Fools go and PhRMA had to act fast to contain the media’s confusion. Christian Clymer (@CCatPhRMA), Social Media Lead for PhRMA, tweeted this in response to my post:

“Have you been fooled? See @pharmaguy April Fool’s joke and PhRMA’s real statement here…”

The link in his post leads to another note on PhRMA’s blog:

April Facts v. April Fool’s

by Kate Connors on 4/1/2011

Perhaps you’ve seen John Mack’s April Fool’s post that says he’s gotten a copy of PhRMA’s “statement” on the Food and Drug Administration’s delayed social media guidelines.

Mack’s post, which presents a fictitious statement, has made the rounds this morning, underscoring the immediacy of social media.

Here is our actual statement, released yesterday.

Go ahead and read PhRMA’s ACTUAL statement. I think if PhRMA allowed itself to speak frankly, the real PhRMA Statement would have closely resembled my April Fools version. Now that April Fool’s is over, I have removed the fake statement from this blog. See you NEXT April 1!