I’ve been working with major pharmaceutical companies for years creating digital strategies for them as well as designing ways to let them engage with their customers through social media. For long, it was a struggle as there was no clear guidance from FDA so we crowdsourced one.
Now Virginia Hughes asked my views on this for her Nature News report. Don’t miss this amazing summary of the whole social media and pharma story.
In 2011, we published a crowdsourced open access guide for pharmaceutical companies containing practical pieces of advice about how to use and how not to use social media. As there was no guide from the FDA that time, we thought we would assist the FDA and the EMA in creating one that would make it simpler for companies to interact with patients and physicians online. Later, the FDA issued its own guidance but the EMA confirmed to me they did not plan to.
We still think that a less legally complicated, but more practical short guide is still needed therefore Paul Lane, the Director of Social Media and Web-based Information at the Envision Pharma Group (Medical Communications Agency) and I decided to release an updated version for which we are looking for contributors. Last time, over 50 people worked on the document.
Please let us know here if you are interested in participating!
Until then, here is the latest version:
Last year, the healthcare innovation world cup was won by AdhereTech that developed a drug box that changes its color when the next medication should be taken. Now here is Kaleo’s talking drug box that can provide spoken instructions to patients about how to administer an injection.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more people die each year from drug overdoses than car accidents — and 70 percent of those deaths are caused by legally prescribed medication. Kaleo, a pharmaceutical firm, hopes it can change that. It’s creating a device called Evzio, a small, easy to use drug delivery system that can safely administer a life-saving dose of naloxone.
Many patients are afraid of needles, and the process of properly filling and using a syringe isn’t exactly user friendly. That’s why Kaleo equipped its device with not only clearly written instructions, but a voice: Evzio verbally tells users how to use it properly.
The company’s study concluded that 90% of patients could perform the task even though they have never done it before.
After years, finally the United States Food & Drug Administration came up with a proposal in the form of a guide about how pharma companies should deal with social media.
One of the so-called draft guidances offers instructions on how companies should attempt to correct product information on websites that are run by others, such as chat rooms. The other addresses how products – including risk and benefit information – can be discussed in venues such as Twitter, as well as paid search links on Google and Yahoo, all of which have limited space. This will involve using links to product web sites, for instances, that can be clicked.
A while ago, I published an open letter in which I asked pharmaceutical companies to name one of their employees who could make 100% transparent edits on Wikipedia entries related to their own products. Now John Mack, the Pharmaguy, posted some updates about new reports on the relation between Wikipedia and the pharma industry and he asked me what I think about it.
As I’ve been plenty of pharma companies since then assisting them in creating an efficient digital strategy, here is what I said:
“Since I announced my open letter for pharma companies, I’ve been in touch with several international pharmaceutical companies and while they all agreed my proposal was the perfect method for them about editing Wikipedia in a proper way, none of them seemed to be able to make the final required step for that. I’m still optimistic though as I know how much time it takes to run through such ideas in large companies.” — Bertalan Mesko, MD, Medical Futurist at medicalfuturist.com, @Berci
Mark Senak at Eye on FDA published a detailed white paper about the regulatory issues of pharma communications in social media. This white paper with the practical open access guide we published a year ago should assist pharma companies in finding the right strategy in the digital world.