FDA Spends $182k to Monitor Social Media While Biopharma Industry Waits for Social Media Guidance

FDA Has Been Promising Social Media Guidance - Since 2009

09.20.13 | By Stephanie Fischer

In this austere fiscal environment, I must admit to being a little surprised by the news that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is spending $182,000 on a tool to monitorwhat people are saying about the Agency on social media. 

Politico reported on a chilly reception to the news on the Hill:

“It’s outrageous for the FDA to spend nearly $200,000 to promote itself on social media when it is claiming sequestration may hurt its ability to approve life-saving drugs and medical devices,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said in a statement to POLITICO. “Lives are more important than ‘likes.’ FDA should cancel this contract immediately and refocus itself on its core mission…”

Meanwhile, the biopharmaceutical industry has been waiting for years for guidance on how they can use social media in a meaningful way to talk about the medicines they make available to patients.  Since the FDA hosted a public meeting in 2009 on Promotion of FDA-Regulated Medical Products Using the Internet and Social Media Tools, we’ve heard guidance would be issued soon.  Even Congress grew impatient with the FDA’s delay, inserting a provision in the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act requiring that FDA issue draft guidance by July 2014.

Let’s hope the Agency meets that deadline, and allows healthcare professionals and patients to engage in a meaningful online dialogue about their medicines soon.

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