10 Years of Eye on FDA – Looking Back

This month marks a decade of Eye on FDA. A good friend of mine was writing a personal blog, which most blogs were back then, that was well-written and funny and I thought – hey I could do that only about professionally-related issues. Well, not as well-written and not as funny as my friend’s blog, Eye on FDA has nonetheless been around to provide insights and commentary on a range of issues related primarily to FDA and the industries it regulates.

Over the years a lot of ground has been covered. Here are a few of my favorite moments looking back:

  • March 2009 – FDA’s First Words on Social Media Regulation – In a posting entitled “A Conversation with FDA/DDMAC About Pharma, Social Media and Web 2.0” a representative from OPDP (then called DDMAC) provided the agency’s first real public commentary on how FDA was thinking of approaching the use of social media by pharma. At the time the agency’s thinking was that it was the message, not the medium and that regulated industry needed to follow guidance that had been given regarding print and broadcast. It was the single most shared and read posting in the entire 10 year history of the blog.
  • January 2010 – Twitter and Congress – Following the 2008 election cycle, the Obama campaign earned a reputation for its savvy use of digital and social media in the campaign. Today, virtually every member of Congress is on Twitter and Facebook and many have blogs, but back in 2009, only about one-fourth of the Congress was there. In “Twongress – the Power of Twitter in Congress” two things happened – the first was coining the term “Twongress” which some people loved and some people hated and the second was the publication of a White Paper that compared the use of twitter between the Republicans and the Democrats in the Senate and the House. The paper got a lot of media attention and then House Minority Leader John Boehner issued a press release about the paper.
  • April 2013 – Is Digital Risker? – The lack of guidance from FDA around social media stretching out for years may have contributed to a perception that social and digital media were risker communications platforms than were traditional forms of communication among those in regulated industry. Who knew?  After working on a database of OPDP/DDMAC warning and untitled letters that spanned back through 2004 – the result was a White Paper – “Some Digital and Social Media Guidance – FDA Regulation of Pharma Communications in a Digital Era“.  One of the fields that was tracked in the data base was whether or not the communications vehicle involved in violations cited in letters were digital or not. A comparison during the years when social media was in its ascendancy (2008-2012) revealed that in fact most violations were still happening on traditional media properties and digital was not growing in proportion nor did it represent a greater proportion of Warning Letters. That is a observation that has held up over time.
  • July 2014 – FDA Issues Some Guidance on Social – Waiting since the public meeting held in November 2009 industry finally saw some guidance in the summer of 2014 with the issuance of guidance documents involving the correction of misinformation and use of platforms where there is character space limitation. “In More than 140 Characters” – an Eye on FDA Webinar to review the regulation of social media and promotion to date. The Webinar had a large number of sign ups, and all in all, the story is still unfolding.

Those are a few of my favorite moments over the course of time. For me, the blog has been a great experience. I pay more attention to what is going on and I think about it more than I probably would have otherwise. I hope it does the same for you. My aim has always been – and will continue to be – the provision of material in the way of news and thoughts that will be helpful to you in what you do. I appreciate all of the readers over the years and all of the Twitter followers at @eyeonfda. Thanks for being here!

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