News about advertising medical devices on Facebook: updates from the Ministry of Health

On October 24, 2019, the Ministry of Health published an addendum to the guidelines on the advertising of medical devices, in vitro diagnostic medical devices and medical-surgical devices (collectively “Medical Devices” or “MD”) on Facebook (the “Guidelines”). The Guidelines essentially reproduce the provisions established by the Ministry of Health on advertising medicines on Facebook.

The Guidelines regulate content on advertising Medical Devices according to two different types of pages on Facebook: (i) company, product or brand pages and (ii) thematic company pages.

Company, product or brand pages are allowed provided that the following conditions are met:

  • the feature regarding the possibility to comment on the post as well as to add reactions shall be disabled;
  • a specific disclaimer shall be used stating that the Ministry of Health exclusively authorizes the advertising content and that any comments are the sole responsibility of the user while the company dissociates itself from the comments made by users;
  • posts with advertising content shall be authorized by the Ministry of Health. Accordingly, such posts shall be deposited, with some exception such as for institutional advertising.

On the other hand, thematic company pages are those pages which have content different from the institution and/or product advertising. These pages are allowed under the following conditions:

  • if they are devoid of advertising content related to MD, no authorization is required;
  • conversely, if these pages contain advertising posts on MD, they shall comply with the same rules provided by the Guidelines for the company, product or brand pages (specifically: authorization from the Ministry of Health, disclaimer and deactivation of interactivity function).

Moreover, the Guidelines clearly illustrate (i) how to create and display posts on FB, by distinguishing between different types of posts, (ii) the possibility for each company to submit an editorial plan for each product to the Ministry of Health, and (iii) how to use Messenger to advertise MD.

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