On the one hand, the pharmaceutical industry says that lack of FDA social media guidelines hinders its ability to engage health care professionals, payers, and patients via social media.

On the other hand, the industry files a Citizen Petition (see here) and makes 1st amendment legal threats (see here) that potentially stymie FDA’s efforts to issue social media guidance.

On the third hand, the industry itself — at least in the U.S. — has done little to self-regulate itself as it has done with print and TV direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising and physician promotion.

I say it’s time for the U.S. drug industry to stop “waiting for Godot” and draw up its own self-regulatory social media guidelines!

The British drug industry has already made some progress doing just that (see “The British Pharmaceutical Industry Issues Social Media Guidance for Adverse Event Reporting“). Why can’t the US pharma trade association (PhRMA) come up with similar guidelines for its members?

There already is an adhoc pharma industry “Social Media Working Group” that has suggested guidelines (Read about this group and listen to this podcast: “Pharma’s Social Media Working Group: Who It Consists of, How It Formed, and What Its Objectives Are“). Why not make it official under PhRMA?

Why can’t we all just get along and do something?

SURVEY: Rules for Pharma Engagement in Patient & Physician Social Networks
SURVEY: Rules for Pharma Engagement in Patient & Physician Social Networks

How should pharma engage in patient/physician social networks? What are some “rules of engagement” and what I call “fair social media practice principles” that can form the basis of self-regulatory SM guidelines for the pharmaceutical industry? Please respond to my survey and let me know your opinions.

[This post originally appeared in Pharma Marketing Blog
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