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In brief

The first ever guidance on social media has been issued by the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) to help pharmaceutical companies apply the high standards demanded by the industry’s ABPI Code of Practice to all their online communications channels. The PMCPA Social Media Guidance 2023 has been produced in consultation with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the ABPI, and pharmaceutical companies. It includes advice for companies to help them use social media in line with these rules and the rest of the Code, following a huge increase in PMCPA complaint cases during the COVID pandemic, and a consensus from the industry that the previous 2016 guidance on digital communications, which did not cover social media platforms, was outdated and unhelpful given today’s online climate.

This guidance is brand new and long awaited from the industry following a lengthy and significant initiative undertaken, led by the ABPI. Companies should review their social media policies to ensure that they are in compliance with the new guidance.

In more detail

Director of the PMCPA Alex Fell said:

“We recognize that social media can pose particular challenges for companies under the ABPI Code. With its wide reach and international audience, information on medicines can be seen by audiences it wasn’t intended for.

“I hope this guidance will help companies navigate the potential pitfalls of social media, with more confidence, a clearer knowledge of the principles to follow and the legal requirements.”

Claire Tilstone, Head of Advertising at the MHRA said:

“We have worked closely with the PMCPA to help develop this guidance. We are confident it will assist companies who want to use social media while complying with the Code and legal requirements and maintaining the high standards the public expects.”

For further information please talk to Elina Angeloudi, Jaspreet Takhar or Julia Gillert from our London office


Julia joined Baker McKenzie's London office as a trainee in 2005, qualifying in 2007, with a secondment to the Singapore office, and has shaped her practice to focus exclusively on regulatory matters affecting the Healthcare & Life Sciences industry.


Jaspreet advises market-leading tech and healthcare companies on issues at the cutting-edge of digital health. She focuses on the development and regulation of healthcare technology and data solutions. This includes assessing how digital health solutions can comply with the legal framework for data privacy, medical research and medical devices / pharmaceuticals.


Elina is an associate in Baker McKenzie London office.

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