The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a letter to drug maker Novartis warning it to cease its incomplete and misleading promotion of the leukemia fighting drug Tasigna on Facebook. Novartis had been using Facebook’s “share button” to market the drug on the social website giant. However, in violation of federal laws, the advertisements failed to include the risks associated with taking the drug. Additionally, despite the fact that clinical trials have not shown the drug to be more effective than its competitors, the Facebook advertisement promoted the drug as superior to other products – again in violation of federal law.
Novartis was also in the news earlier this year for illegal off-label promotion when Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostic Inc., and Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation agreed to pay the U.S. government $72.5 million for the off-label promotion of its drug TOBI. The fact that the company is again not in compliance with federal regulations on marketing – on the heels of a $72.5 million dollar settlement – adds weight to the argument that massive fines may not be enough to stop the fraudulent marketing practices that have seemingly become commonplace in the industry.