Vol. 10, Issue No. 10: 8 JUNE 2011 – EXECUTIVE SUMMARYThe Pharmaguy Social Media Timeline™ A Record of Social Media Events Impacting the Pharmaceutical Industry

Pharmaguy SM TimelineThe pharmaceutical industry is at a turning point in its adoption of new social media tools and applications for communication with healthcare professionals, consumers, patients, policymakers, and payers. Practically every pharmaceutical company has launched a social media project or application of one sort or another (see the “Pharma and Healthcare Social Media Wiki” for an up-to-date list). To be sure, not all these efforts take full advantage of social media tools, most notably the ability to have two-way conversations. For that to happen, says the industry, FDA guidance is needed.

Yet, the long-awaited social media guidance from the FDA — whenever it arrives — may turn out to be nothing more than a stamp of approval on activities in which the industry is currently engaged. Practically every issue that FDA guidance is expected to address has already been handled independently by a few pioneering pharmaceutical companies. Rather than waiting for FDA’s anti climatic guidelines, Pharmaguy decided to publish The Pharmaguy Social Media Timeline™ now, at a time when the industry already has set precedents in every social media application.

Entries in The Pharmaguy Social Media Timeline were chosen by Pharmaguy (@pharmaguy on Twitter, aka John Mack, Publisher of Pharma Marketing News and author of this article) to represent what he considers to be important or memorable events that had an impact on the use of social media by the global pharmaceutical industry. The focus is mainly on uses of social media for commercial purposes, ie, sales and marketing and on “first” or precedent-setting events.

Entries include a date, an event category, an event title, a brief description of the event, comments from Pharmaguy and other experts, and links to more information on Pharma Marketing Blog and elsewhere. Of course, no timeline would be complete without images and Pharmaguy included several of the best in his Timeline.

Topic headings include:

  • Social Media Defined
  • A Little History of Social Media
  • What’s Included in the Timeline
  • The Pharmaguy Social Media Timeline

Also included…

  • Where to find latest version of the Timeline
  • Where to submit corrections, additions or comments to the Timeline

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Fair Social Media Practice Principles Rules for Third-Party Engagement in Patient/Physician Social Networks.

Conspiracy TheoryWere FDA’s infamous 14 warning letters to pharma a ploy to force Google into a $500M DOJ settlement regarding illegal online pharmacy ads? In addition, could FDA have been holding back issuing pharma social media guidelines — which would include guidelines for displayig compliant information in space-limited applications such as Twitter AND Google Adwords — until Google settled its case with the DOJ?

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FDA Drops Social Media from Its Guidance Agenda Focuses Instead on Responsding to “Unsolicited” Off-Label Information Requests

Missing Social MediaFDA’s revised draft guidance calendar for year 2011 is missing ‘Promotion of Prescription Drug Products Using Social Media Tools,” which WAS on the 2010 Agenda. Included, however, is ‘Responding to Unsolicited Requests for Prescription Drug and Medical Device Information, Including Those Encountered on the Internet.’ FDA says this includes Internet requests. Why did the FDA put this issue at the TOP of its list of ‘issues related to Internet/social media promotion of FDA-regulated medical products’ for which it promised guidance? Where did that issue arise? It wasn’t mentioned in the Federal Register regarding social media guidance.

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