The list of beneficiaries of transfers of value subject to compulsory disclosure in the French public “transparency” database include “persons who, in the media or on social media, present one or several health products, in a way to influence the public” –so-called “influencers” – since an Act of 24 July 2019.
A recent decree of 30 December 2019 now specifies the information to be disclosed for the identification of such “influencers”: it is the “denomination under which this person performs its influence activity”. Thus, as opposed to other categories of beneficiaries, it seems that the « denomination » actually used by the influencer will have to be declared, which might be different from the exact identity (name, surname). The term « denomination » is not defined.
It is worth recalling the regulatory background of the “transparency obligations” applicable in France: companies manufacturing or marketing health products, such as medicinal products and medical devices, or providing related services, must disclose on a public website named “Transparence Santé” transfers of value – contracts, payments and any other advantage in cash or in kind (over €10,00) – made, directly or indirectly, to beneficiaries in the health sector, such as healthcare professionals, associations, students, foundations etc.
The French authorities consider that this disclosure obligation applies irrespective of whether the company is located in France or not, and of whether its products are marketed in France or not, as long as the beneficiary exercises its activity in France or is established in France. These territorial criteria may prove difficult to apply when it comes to activities performed on social media by “influencers”.
Additional implementing texts will specify the disclosure obligation with respect to influencers, since the decree of 30 December specifies that its provisions will enter into force on a date provided by an arrêté yet to be published, and at the latest on 1 January 2021.