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Friday, April 02, 2010

FDA and Social Media... Maybe a Model for Others

The FDA regulates what pharmaceutical companies can say in magazines, newspapers, television and even doctor's offices. The next frontier, it appears, is social media. The FDA back in November 2009 had a meeting to gather input about the use of Social Media to represent products and inform the public.

Folks like Wayne Gattinella, President and CEO of WebMD and Michele Sharp the Senior Director of US Regulatory Affairs of Eli Lilly and John Mack, the publisher of Pharma Marketing News and Cliff Thumma Sr. Director, Team Leader Market Analytics Pfizer as well as many more (check out the complete list.)

You can read about the meeting and gain access to transcripts of the meeting at the FDA's site in a posting called Public Hearing on Promotion of FDA-Regulated Medical Products Using the Internet and Social Media Tools

I've written before about how Pfizer was leveraging social media internally in an article A Pharmaceutical Leveraging Web 2.0 --In a Big Way

It seems to me that having FDA guidance on the use of social media for discussion of products would be beneficial to using social media both externally to reach potential customers and internally for open and transparent discussion about products. I've worked with Pharma and Device companies and some are hesitant to use social media for fears of potential issues. I think guidance would help alleviate some of those fears and, perhaps, serve as a model for companies in other industries that are not so heavily regulated.

And with many physician increasing their use of the web as indicated by this graphic presented by Pfizer below at the FDA hearing, something needs to be done to ensure good, effective web-based communication among physicians, patients and the pharma and medical device industry.

It will be interesting to see where this all goes and the level of guidance provided.


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