RIYADH: SHARIF M. TAHA
Published — Monday 8 April 2013
Last update 8 April 2013 10:30 am
The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) has ordered drug and pharmaceutical companies to refrain from advertising on social media platforms unless they have obtained a license to promote their products, local media reported.
The SFDA issued the order in the wake of a reported increase in the number of pharmaceutical products advertised on social media sites.
In addition, the SFDA announced it would strictly apply penalties stipulated by the Pharmaceutical Firms Systems and Regulations if drug companies violate the decision.
Advertising material, including data and leaflets, should not propagate information that does not comply with the content and chemical properties of pharmaceutical and herbal products.
Earlier, the SFDA notified the Ministry of Information and Culture about a series of complaints and violations committed by certain advertising agencies, including the promotion of drugs smuggled into the Kingdom by “suitcase traders”. Some of these advertising agencies were consequently fined for violating guidelines.
In other developments, the SFDA has requested the nationalization of all pharmaceutical promotion and publicity positions to ensure that Saudi citizens are given full-time employment opportunities in the sector.
However, the nationality precondition may be overlooked if the required number of Saudi pharmacists is not available, it said.