Credit where credit is due, right?
We’re unfurling a slow clap for the Federal Trade Commission. Why on earth would we do that? Well, those sometimes mercurial commissioners created a genuinely helpful app!
FTC’s New Legal App Tells E-Medical Product Developers & Marketers Which Regulations Apply
To assist both developers and marketers of e-medical applications and products, the FTC came up with a plug-and-play app that spits out regulatory requirements. Interested parties can input information about a product, the system then analyzes the information and delineates a list of federal regulations to which the product must adhere.
Associate director for digital health in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health Bakul Patel explained the impetus for the app:
“As the number of mobile health products available today continues to rise, it’s important to clarify for developers how FDA and other agencies’ regulations would apply to their app […] This effort is part of the FDA’s continued commitment to protecting patient safety while encouraging innovation in digital health.”
Should You Still Consult A Lawyer Before Releasing A New Product?
Well, look…we’re lawyers. So, sure…we understand you’re going to take our *pro-attorney* suggestions we give with a grain of salt.
We get it.
But, let us offer this one bit of genuine advice: be careful relying solely on the FTC’s legal app. Yes, it is a great tool — but it’s also limited in its abilities. It’s not like it is Star Trek’s DATA and can parse every minute detail of every situation. The FTC’s app is not a semi-sentient humanoid. The input is limited; therefore, its responses are limited. If you fail to mention a relevant factor, the app may not regurgitate the best answer.
That said, the app can be used to save money, as having more knowledge going into a launch audit will most likely cut down on the amount of time the process takes (i.e., fewer billable hours).
Best Practice Protocol: App, Then Online Marketing Audit
Before consulting with a marketing lawyer, use the app. Then, have an attorney review the product, packaging and any marketing materials — before launch — to ensure all regulations are met. If not, you could incur a million-dollar-plus FTC fine.
All in all, it’s a great app; supplement marketers should use it.
Get An Online Marketing Audit Before Product Launch; It Could Save You Lots Of Money In The Long Run
Got online marketing legal questions? Curious about FTC / FDA / FCC product and promotional compliance?
Is an attorney general or government agency sniffing around your business for “unfair and deceptive marketing” violations?
Whatever the situation, we can help. Our online marketing team has successfully handled hundreds of digital promotion legalities and pre-launch marketing audits.
Pai, A. (2016, April 06). FTC releases tool to help health app developers determine whether regulations apply. Retrieved May 10, 2016, from http://mobihealthnews.com/content/ftc-releases-tool-help-health-app-developers-determine-whether-regulations-apply
Mobile Health Apps Interactive Tool. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2016, from https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/mobile-health-apps-interactive-tool