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Maximilian Muench makes his living from travel photos. The same model is increasingly applying to prescription drugs. Photo: Paul Zinken/Picture alliance via Getty Images

Social-media influencers aren’t just promoting clothes and fancy hotels any more — they’re now helping to sell prescription drugs.

Details: Most of these influencers are patients, according to STAT. They sign up with talent agencies, and then pharmaceutical companies come to those agencies looking for a patient willing to promote a particular drug.

  • “What has become obvious now is that micro-influencers, folks with smaller communities can have a dramatic impact on people’s behavior,” Jack Barrette, founder and CEO of Wego Health, a patient talent agency, told STAT.
  • Facebook is the top platform for this kind of engagement, followed by Instagram and Twitter, he said.

There are no restrictions on who can promote a drug, and if a campaign discusses a condition rather than a specific product, drug companies don’t have to disclose their involvement.

  • “There’s a myriad of ethical issues around this,” Tufts medical professor Lisa Gualtieri said.

Go deeper

54 mins ago - Health

India crosses 1 billion COVID vaccinations milestone

A health worker inoculates a COVID-19 vaccine dose to a man wearing face mask of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Beawar, India, in September. Photo: Sumit Saraswat/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Thursday that the country's health workers have now administered more than 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines doses.

Of note: While this is a significant milestone for the country of 1.4 billion, which has been devastated by the coronavirus, only about 30% of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated against the virus, per AP. Roughly 75% has received at least one dose.

Trump says he plans to launch new social media network in 2022

Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump on Wednesday announced plans to launch a social media network called "Truth Social," and that it would go public via a SPAC.

Why it matters: Most ex-presidents are focused on their legacies, by creating presidential libraries or engaging in philanthropic endeavors. Trump, however, remains consumed by social media.

Beauty giant Coty Cosmetics looking to sell its own branded products

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi. Photo: Axios on HBO

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi tells Axios the beauty giant will “probably” introduce Coty-branded products one day.

Why it matters: Coty produces some of the world’s most popular fragrances, skin care products and color cosmetics on behalf of other well-known brands, but has shied away from producing its own branded products.