Medical Device Companies Are Marketing on YouTube

In the electronic age more companies are hawking their products over the Internet, using Google and YouTube as venues to sell their products. Now, the medical device industry is joining in. At least three medical device manufacturers including Abbott Laboratories, Medtronic Inc. and Stryker Corp. have placed direct to consumer ads on YouTube. While the marketing plan may be innovative it may not be legal.
According to Prescription Project, a consumer advocacy group, the ads don’t contain the proper disclosures or the warnings that are required in the conventional marketing media such as print, radio, and television. Prescription Project has petitioned the FDA to investigate the ads as well as update their marketing regulations to conform to the electronic medium.
Federal rules require drug companies and medical device manufacturers to clearly provide the consumer with information about potential risks and side effects. In its letter to the FDA, the Prescription Project cited ads for Abbott’s Xience V, a drug-coated stent; Medtronic’s Prestige Cervical Disc, a spinal implant; and Stryker’s Cormet hip-resurfacing system.
According to a Wall St. Journal report, “Stryker said it wouldn’t comment because the issue was before the FDA. Medtronic said it is committed to adhering to FDA guidelines for direct-to-consumer advertising. The company said the video in question had been taken down.
An Abbott spokesman said the company posted a link to Adderall XR’s safety and risk information next to its YouTube video, but will from now on embed safety and risk information in such videos.”