Listening to The FDA hearings on promotion of FDA regulated medical products using the internet and social media tools, was both fascinating, frustrating, and groundbreaking.
First and foremost it’s a glimpse into the process in Washington of the FDA trying to learn more and to get up to speed on topics such as:
- What Pharma is doing online
- The significance of social media and Pharma
- Medical professionals usage of online tools and social media
- Medical information dissemination by patients online
- The role of social media for patient information
All of this done through snackable content consisting of no more than 10-15-20 minute presentations to an FDA panel.
More importantly however, what struck me was the ability to listen and watch the FDA hearings online, comment and share what we heard and saw via the Twitter hashtag #FDASM and then read the follow up blog posts from some of the participants. One suggestion: The FDA panel would be smart to go back and read the #FDASM back channel, because the conversation there, was both enlightening and incredibly observant.
As well, Google Docs spreadsheet had been created so that users can see speaker name, company, presentation, and email and talk to those who are viewing the document at the same time that you are!
Transparency is reaching Washington. Gov 2.0 is in action for the people. This doesn’t mean that this will speed up the process of the FDA doing anything within the next 3-6-9 months based on what they have learned, but now people have been able to glimpse something tangible, and actually participate in more ways than ever before. Hopefully Washington is starting to get it.
I applaud the FDA for realizing that they need to understand the power of online medical information, the power and impact of search, and the power of social media, and the effect that it can and does have on consumers and..the way that Pharma can manipulate it. This is a big step and yet at the same time a small step. Either way, they are both steps in the right direction.
Marc, thank you for leaving this post with so many links to informative content. I was conducting business travel and client interviews all last week. Your post is very helpful because I was unable to listen to or participate in any of the twitter conversations.
I work in the pharma industry, and it’s my hope that the increased transparency will also help in rebuilding trust between the entire industry, patients, physicians, and the American people in general. There’s no doubt the industry can do better in regaining consumer trust (which would also be a step forward).
I hope that the FDA will not take until 2011 to recommend their social media guidelines (this is the initial read from some of the content I’ve been catching up on). In the online world, months are the equivalent of decades (to paraphrase a quote from a recent Advertising Age article). So much can change between now and 2011, and I don’t want the industry to fall further behind.
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