AUTH/3741/2/23 - Complainant v Pfizer

Promotional use of Twitter

  • Received
    15 February 2023
  • Case number
  • Applicable Code year
  • Completed
    01 March 2024
  • Breach Clause(s)
  • Sanctions applied
    Undertaking received
  • Additional sanctions
  • Appeal
    No appeal

Case Summary

This case concerned a complaint received in February 2023 about a tweet posted by a US employee of Pfizer, and re-tweeted by a senior UK employee in November 2020. The tweet, which was still visible on their Twitter feed, related to a Pfizer and BioNTech press release announcing the conclusion of the Phase 3 Study of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, which had met all primary efficacy endpoints. The complainant alleged the tweet included relative efficacy rates without any information about absolute efficacy rates and that no safety data or safety information was provided, and therefore that Pfizer had misleadingly and illegally promoted its COVID-19 vaccine.

The Panel ruled a breach of the following Clauses of the 2019 Code:

Breach of Clause 2

Bringing discredit upon, and reducing confidence in, the pharmaceutical industry

Breach of Clause 3.1

Promoting an unlicensed medicine

Breach of Clause 7.2

Making a misleading claim

Breach of Clause 7.9

Making claims that did not reflect the available evidence regarding possible adverse reactions

Breach of Clause 9.1

Failing to maintain high standards


This summary is not intended to be read in isolation.
For full details, please see the full case report below.