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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.

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