Social Media for Drug Safety: Navigating the Evolving, Complex Global Regulatory Ecosystem

Pharma Asia
August 14, 2015
By Dr Supriya Desai, Sciformix Corporation

This article examines the evolving global regulatory landscape with respect to use of social media in PV, potential areas requiring additional regulatory involvement and how various stakeholders can jointly influence and harness social media and internet to drive valuable outcomes for the PV industry in a regulated environment.

Drug safety has evolved and grown more complex over the last decade due to higher data volumes, evolving regulations, influence of emerging markets and emergence of social media and innovative technological advances. The immense reach of internet and social media has transformed how people communicate, digital platforms and applications fast becoming the go-to form of communication in the era of Web 2.0.

Digital media is used by biopharmaceutical companies for communication with patients to create awareness about diseases and treatments, clinical trial enrolment and patient support programs. However, unlike other areas in healthcare, use of internet has progressed slower in drug safety/product safety. This offers the biopharmaceutical industry with multiple exciting, yet overwhelming opportunities to drive innovative and meaningful changes in safety by appropriate and effective use of social media.

Social media presents novel channels for companies to move away from traditional Pharmacovigilance/Productvigilance (PV) systems and methods towards patient-centric models for reporting, analysis and monitoring of safety data. Further, these channels allow swift and open communication between companies, healthcare professionals (HCPs) and the patients, thereby helping foster transparency and build public trust.

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