DRUG importers and suppliers have been directed to stop promotion of their products on social media without regulatory approval, in a latest measure to tighten control over marketing of medical products on social media outlets.
Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) said in a public notice yesterday that promotions on WhatsApp, Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, LinkedIn, MySpace, Pinterest without their permits contravened Tanzania Food, Drugs and Cosmetics (Control of Drugs and Herbal Drugs Promotions) Regulations, 2010.
“With this notice, TMDA directs importers, sellers and suppliers of medicines to the public to stop advertisements for prescription drugs on social media, and make sure drugs advertisements have correct information and have been approved by the authority,” the public notice reads in part.
The TMDA warning comes after businesses chose to adapt advertising strategies in social networking platforms, leading to a rapid increase of promotion through real-time social media outlets.
Like in many other countries, social media use is rapidly growing, with an increase in internet penetration and smartphone use.
There were 4.4 million Facebook users in Tanzania in September 2018, which accounted for 7.1 per cent of the entire population, according to a web analytics firm, Stat- Counter.
People aged 25 to 34 years were the largest user group (1 750 000).
The number of internet users in Tanzania rose to 23.14 million in June, up from 22.99 million a year ago, according to the latest Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) statistics.