Greetings from the 6th Annual PR & Communications ExL Pharma Summit being held in the headquarters of Pfizer in New York, yesterday and today.
One of the highlights of the two-day meeting occurred this morning when CDER's head of public affairs provided attendees with insights into the FDA's most recent thinking on drug safety and risk communications. Naturally part of that discussion entered the topic of social media.
First off, Julie revealed that the FDA has hired a Director of Online Communications. For those of use who, for a while, have hoped that the FDA would further engage the public via means of social media, this was a welcomed development for sure. But it also indicates that the FDA is obviously bent on doing more than has been done.
And secondly, that is apparent when she also stated that the FDA's CDER is considering the development of a new blog aimed at communicating matters of drug safety and risk management. She said that it would start with baby steps, but would work its way up to more complex issues. The overall communications aim is to help people to better understand FDA decisions, but also the context for those decisions. She also hinted that FDA will be looking at how the agency can have a Facebook presence.
The question was posed from the audience whether or not the fact that the FDA was looking at ways for the agency to further wade into social media waters indicated an agency point of view that it was ok for industry to do so as well. She replied adroitly that industry is regulated in a way that they agency is not. Good answer. In other words, for now – until there is a guidance or set of guidances on social media, the rule of thumb is "do as I say, not as I do… "