FTC New Efforts Regarding Endorsements Testimonials

While the FDA struggles to figure out how the Internet works , the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) forges onward.

With the advent of the Internet, the FDA said – well, nothing.

But another agency, the FTC, has been quite active in assessing, analyzing and interpreting the Internet and consumer use of it to develop new guidelines for quite some time now.   

For example, in 2000 they said a LOT.  In fact, while the FDA was trying to figure out how a mouse worked, the FTC issued a paper on dot.com advertising.  In fact, it is within the context of that paper that one might see a sort of blessing for a "one-click" rule to get important disclosure information in the context of an online advertisement. 

Now, however, the FTC has recently come out with new rules about endorsements that are game-changing in nature.  For one thing, bloggers are now required to indicate the existence of any financial relationship when they are writing about a product.   But the situation is more complex than this aspect and undoubtedly many more questions will flow as advertisers, manufacturers and bloggers all come to understand the new environment, and how they impact health care in particular.   

Addressing the blogger situation – here is a video from FTC to outline the topic that particularly focuses on the issues that relate to bloggers:

The Federal Register Notice about these endorsement rules was published December 1 and is quite lengthy (81 pages) , but it provides an abundance of information, including going through examples of situations that might or might not trigger a violation.  

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4 Responses to FTC New Efforts Regarding Endorsements Testimonials

  1. locus says:

    I realize that you’re miffed at the FDA for not changing regulations regarding internet advertising. However, your efforts to paint FDA as ignorant of the internet don’t stand up to the evidence.
    If FDA is so ignorant of the internet, why have they published several rules and guidances related to electronic transmission of information to FDA via the internet? Surely an agency completely ignorant of the internet wouldn’t be asking their stakeholders to USE it to communicate with them.
    It’s my impression that FDA has not changed regulations regarding online advertisements because they feel that existing regulations are sufficient.
    In a response to an earlier post, I asked you why you think industry can’t comply with existing regulations for their online advertisements (i.e. the “one-click” rule.) Another commenter echoed my reasoning. You agreed with me that the “one-click rule” isn’t really a rule at all and actually DOES violate FDA regulations.
    Just because you and your clients are upset that the one-click rule isn’t legal, doesn’t mean that the FDA is ignorant of the internet.

  2. Mark Senak says:

    I’m not upset with the FDA about the one-click rule, I’m upset about the lack of thinking that is going into rule making. As to the FDA’s understanding of the Internet, I stand by my conviction. Thanks for your comment.

  3. locus says:

    OK, then.
    Let’s take my example (FDA allowing stakeholders to file electronically).
    Do you believe that FDA lacked “thinking” when they promulgated rules allowing for e-submission of information? I will note that they still allow paper filing (for those stakeholders truly ignorant of the internet). I will grant you that these changes could have been made SOONER, but they still happened.
    Your conviction (that FDA is ignorant of the Internet) still doesn’t match the facts.

  4. Mark Senak says:

    Actually, it does. This is the 21st Century. The agency regulates as if it is the 1990s. And there is plenty of evidence to that fact. Electronic filing is not an example of cutting edge thinking. I’m not saying the FDA is across the board electronically ignorant. The widget during the peanut recall was very good. The regulation of communications with respect to getting medical product information has not been timely or effective.

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