D-Day for Pharma and Facebook

It is another one of those questions – how did we get here?  For months FDA’s DDMAC did not seem to understand the impact of social media, then asked for help understanding how to regulate it, then failed to produce any guidance on a timely basis.

As many have been discussing, today is the day that Facebook will begin a new policy whereby companies will not have the option to block commentary on a Facebook page. This weekend, the Washington Post ran a piece on the subject, quoting several pharmaceutical companies who have pulled back their pages in light of the new policy.

That may not seem like a big deal to many people.  However, significant numbers of people were fans of these pages – providing a basis for people to feel connected and where they can get reliable information and resources for an array of conditions.  In the article, many referred the inaction by FDA’s DDMAC to produce any guidance despite months of trying and a  spokesperson was quoted as saying that the agency remains committed to the notion but has limited resources and increasing workloads.

Some companies are braving it out.  After all, social media includes “social” and how different is running a Facebook page from any other form of media in which people can ask a question.  What is the risk/benefit equation here?  Personally, I’m not sure I perceive tremendous risk, but until there is increased experience now that the page has turned, that remains to be seen.

Today I spoke with one company who is pioneering in this new era and bring you a podcast with Stacy Burch, Director of Corporate Reputation and Digital Communications at Sanofi-aventis in the U.S.  I asked her why they were staying and what went into their decision. Here’s what she had to say:

[audio:http://eyeonfda.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/DS400014.mp3|titles=DS400014]
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  1. Pingback: For Pharma, FDA Is Elephant in Facebook Comment Room - USEFUL PORTAL – USEFUL PORTAL

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