Social Media and the Pharma Industry

PharmTech’s February issue will feature a guest editorial by Aaron Davidson, a partner in the life sciences practice at Baker Botts, on social media and the pharmaceutical industry.

PharmTech’s February issue will feature a guest editorial by Aaron Davidson, a partner in the life sciences practice at Baker Botts, on social media and the pharmaceutical industry. In his editorial, Mr. Davidson points to FDA and a lack of regulatory guidance as the reasons that social media has not caught on in the pharma and bio/pharma industries. FDA’s requirement to provide consumers with FDA-approved promotional materials that contain risk information may limit a pharmaceutical company’s ability to use mediums such as Twitter and Facebook effectively.

For the pharmaceutical industry, social media poses concerns that range from release of propriety information to regulatory constraints to patient safety. These concerns have limited the industry’s use of a potential marketing and networking tool. Other industries are using Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets to promote products, follow consumer trends, and connect directly with their consumers.

Is social media being used effectively at all in the pharmaceutical industry? Are there ways social media can be positively used by industry members to share ideas, connect with industry members, or even promote products? And if there is a fear of regulatory infractions, what can or should FDA and other international regulatory agencies do to promote the use of social media?