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In 2015, Kim Kardashian promoted a morning-sickness pill to her millions of followers on social media, boosting sales by 21% over just a few months, a high-profile example of how so-called influencers can hold sway over the public at large.

But given that there are countless influencers lurking on social media — some of whom are celebrities, others are lesser-known cheerleaders — the Food and Drug Administration plans to study the extent to which these paid endorsements affect consumers who take prescription medicines.


The immediate goal is to understand whether disclosing payments to influencers alters patient reactions, according to a notice in the Federal Register. More specifically, the agency wants to know how social media influencers may affect patient recall, the perception of benefits and risks of a medicine, and if a patient is prompted to speak with a doctor.

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