FDA to study celebrity, influencer drug endorsements – Regulatory – MM&M

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed further study on how endorsements and disclosure of payment affect consumer’s reactions to the product.

The FDA’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) proposed two studies on the topic. One will examine three types of endorsers – celebrity, physician and patient –  and whether there is payment disclosure. The other will compare patient and influencer endorsements, whether there is payment disclosure and how explicit it is in the post.

Both studies will determine the effect of the endorser and payment disclosure on participants’ recall, benefit and risk perceptions and behavioral intentions.

The first proposed study will show participants an ad for the fictitious acne product endorsed by a celebrity who has publicly spoken about acne before and an ad of the same product endorsed a doctor and patient (using stock photos).

The second study will recruit participants from a popular Instagram influencer, showing them an Instagram post for a fake endometriosis product. The post will be tweaked to make the payment disclosure more explicit and consumer-friendly or less obvious.

OPDP said in the Federal Register notice that these studies will expand on previous analysis of celebrity endorsements. One previous study found that physician and pharmacist endorsements changed behavior more than celebrities. Another study found that celebrity endorsements did not lead to a higher intention to pursue the product.

Some celebrities and influencers have been in the FDA’s crosshairs for failing to disclose the proper information. In 2018 and 2015, Kim Kardashian posted ads promoting morning sickness drugs that didn’t include the full risk information or side effects. One ad earned the drugmaker a warning letter from the FDA.

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