2009…nothing. 2010…nothing. 2011…doesn’t look like it.
According to the FDA’s “Guidance Agenda: New & Revised Draft Guidances CDER is Planning to Publish During Calendar Year”, ”Promotion of Prescription Drug Products Using Social Media Tools” was nowhere to be found. This was brought to pharma’s attention last week by John Mack, aka Pharmaguy. You can access John’s blog here; his blog also includes the link to the FDA’s Guidance Agenda.
But who needs to wait for the FDA. As per Marc Monseau & Shwen Gwee’s presentation at the May 24, 2011 MM&M Virtual Summit, the 3 key areas where pharma should currently be involved in social include:
- Identifying deep insights about the people who use our products and services and the markets we operate in
- Encouraging direct dialog between our company, products and brands and different stakeholder groups
- Creating relationships
Social can, and should, be done. Our patients expect it. You just have to be transparent, smart, establish policies, and most of all, remain flexible. Social’s not going anywhere…deal with it.
Social is not a brand Facebook page or a corporate tweet. It’s not a one-way push. Social is engaging and interacting with individuals at a personal level; that’s a two-way street. To date pharma has barely scratched the surface of one-way social, let alone done much of anything in terms of true, two-way communication.
Yeah…Yeah…Yeah…regulatory concerns. But if pharma uses common sense, a sound strategy, and sticks to their corporate mission, participating in two-way social is a win-win for everyone.
A recent article by Vernessa Pollard entitled FDA’s Social Media Enforcement: Emerging Rules of Engagement nicely lays out a handful of social guidelines pharma companies need to consider in the absence of specific guidance from FDA.
Should be required reading for all of Pharma.
The official statement from PhRMA regarding social media guidance (from March 31, 2011)
Washington, D.C. (March 31, 2011) — Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Assistant General Counsel Jeffrey K. Francer issued the following statement today on the FDA’s anticipated social media guidance:
“PhRMA has engaged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in public discussion of how our member companies can appropriately communicate with healthcare providers and patients online, using the same tools as the FDA and the White House, including Twitter, Facebook and blogs.
“There are incredible potential public health benefits to using electronic media in healthcare, including allowing innovative companies to provide truthful, scientifically accurate FDA-regulated information.
“PhRMA has proposed responsible means to provide safety information in space-restricted media, including a universal symbol that could help lead patients to web sites that feature FDA-regulated benefit and risk information about new medicines.
“As PhRMA eagerly awaits the FDA’s guidance on this important issue, we note that FDA itself is making almost daily use of Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Clearly, social media can be used to discuss new medical advances in appropriate ways that benefit patients and healthcare professionals, and improve the public health.”
Click here for more details.
Timely and interesting statistics on health-related internet and mobile usage from Susannah Fox…
“About 20% of the online health population has posted comments or content related to health care. That’s the classic Pareto principle or 80-20 rule – 80% is listening, 20% is talking. But here’s where it gets interesting: hand someone a smartphone and they are more likely to become a contributor, a commenter, a creator. Mobile access bumps up participation.”
Read the full story at Kevinmd.com.