Change Coming to Pharmacovigilance
Just about every conversation about the use of digital and social media with pharmaceutical companies starts at the same point – NO. Even if there is a willingness, Med-Reg intimidates and shuts down the effort in most cases, causing the pharmaceutical industry to be more focused on the things it can't do in the digital space as opposed to doing the things that can be done.
One of the main reasons often cited for this stance is the milieu of social media with its two-way conversation, opens up several fronts of risk, including one of the bears of them all – the potential to discover adverse events through interaction with patients. From a med-reg point of view, that is a valid concern under many circumstances. But from the patient perspective, what does it say about a company that is not interested in hearing from patients how well their product is working? Would you want to put such a substance inside of your body? Would you feel like the manufacturer is putting your interests in front of everything else? The fear of adverse events speaks poorly to patient relations, surely.
The fact that such policy goals are being called for in both the U.S. and Europe should enter as an element into the industry's response now – to anticipate change and consider how to improve pharmacovigilance before policy makers act, rather than waiting for the policy shoe to drop and using a fear of adverse event discovery as a road block to participation in digital media, where brands of all companies today are being shaped.
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