Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Sara Stashower


Direct to consumer advertising of pharmaceutical increased in the United States between 2015 and 2016 by 9% to $5.6 billion (McCaffrey, 2017). The only two countries which allow detailed product claim advertisements are the United Sates and New Zealand. While traditional advertising channels have been successful to pharmaceutical companies, many are looking to turn to digital options such as social media to better reach their audiences and work around increased strictness of advertising to physicians. To date, minimal guidance has been provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) when it comes to social media, and ethical guidelines have only been loosely applied, if at all. This paper explores the current guidelines from the FDA and FTC for direct to consumer pharmaceutical advertising (DTCA) on social media and identifies ethical guidelines that can be applied. The culmination of this paper is a checklist of sorts which blends the guidance of the FDA, FTC and ethical considerations with the goal to provide a resource to pharmaceutical companies to legally and ethically create effective and compliant DTCA collateral via social media.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.