A Pharmaceutical Webmaster Takes Action on Sidewiki

As pointed out here many times, Sidewiki poses some major challenges to all companies having Web sites in general, and to highly regulated industries like the pharmaceutical and financial services industries in particular.  A Sidewiki does not belong to a company, nor is it housed on the company site, but the fact is, it is only viewed when one goes to the company site – by people who have downloaded Sidewiki software and installed it on their Google Toolbar.

For pharma, one of the outstanding questions is whether or not a pharmaceutical company should be responsible for monitoring and correcting misinformation on a Sidewiki, such as off label use for a drug, or whether they should monitor for adverse events that might be mentioned there.  On the eve of the FDA Part 15 Public Meeting on the Internet and Social Media to be held tomorrow and Friday in Washington which kicks off a months long process to help the agency begin to grapple with emerging media regulation, one company has decided not to wait to develop a policy.  That is interesting because in fact, most pharmaceutical companies, and most companies, have not yet done so.

AstraZeneca's Webmaster has inserted into the Sidewiki the following notice:

Google SideWiki comments posted on AstraZeneca.com are not monitored
by AstraZeneca and users should not expect a response. You can follow AstraZeneca on Twitter or use the contact us
form on this website.

AstraZeneca.com provides information about the AstraZeneca International business. If you are in the US you should visit AstraZeneca US. We also have national business sites which can be found under our list of AstraZeneca websites.

About AstraZeneca

is one of the world’s largest biopharmaceutical companies. Researching,
developing, manufacturing and marketing prescription medicines to treat
gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology
and infectious disease.

Available on AstraZeneca.com:

For investors, you can access our latest annual report, company presentations and read our shareholder FAQs.

For journalists, our media section includes the latest company news, media team contacts and links to our photo library.

If you are looking for a job at AstraZeneca, our Careers
section includes links to local recruitment websites, information about
our MBA recruitment and what it is like to work at AstraZeneca.

How did they do this?  Here is the skinny from Google:

If you're a webmaster, you can leave a special Sidewiki entry on
pages of your site. Your most recent entry will appear with a green
background at the top of the Sidewiki sidebar, above other entries.

If you have Sidewiki installed, visit this page to see a webmaster entry.

Follow these steps to create a webmaster entry:

  1. Add and verify your site in Google Webmaster Tools. This process links your site to your Google Account. Learn more about adding and verifying your site
  2. Once a site is linked to your Google Account, visit your page and click the Sidewiki button to create an entry.
  3. Select the 'Write as the page owner' checkbox in the entry form.
  4. Click Publish.

It is interesting to note that a company took notice and exercised some leadership.  Others will need to contemplate their policies as well.  There are already almost two dozen medical products companies with Sidewikis now, by my count, and growing.  And for those who want to wait for the FDA to enunciate a policy, you'll be looking at chicken with teeth while ducking pigs who fly before that happens.

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