Keep Talking

European Pharmaceutical Contractor
February, 2016
Author: Supriya Desai, Sciformix Corporation

Pharmacovigilance (PV) has evolved significantly over the years, and has become more complex due to higher data volumes, changing regulations, and the rise of social media and innovative technical advances. Digital media is used by biopharmaceutical companies to create patient awareness about diseases and treatments, clinical trial enrollments and patient support programmes. However, unlike other areas in healthcare, the use of the internet and social media has progressed slower in product safety/product vigilance. This presents the industry with opportunities to utilise social media for detection, assessment, understanding and prevention of adverse effects and other drug-related issues.

Social media offers new opportunities for companies to move away from traditional safety reporting systems and methods towards a more patient-centric model that affords swift and open communication between companies, healthcare providers, consumers and patients. Social media monitoring will likely become a standard practice in PV in the future. But, before that can happen, careful evaluation of the use of social media as a PV tool needs to be conducted – both in terms of meaningfulness and impact on outcomes. Furthermore, an assessment of regulations required for effective use, practicality of the use of big data obtained via social media channels, and overall cost-benefit analysis is needed.

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