Attorney encourages pharmas to embrace social media
By Mia Burns
Pharmas and medical device companies hang within the balance of the regulatory limbo about the hazards tied to social media use within the healthcare industry, however, according to a FDA and healthcare attorney; the industry can chart a prudent course and reap the rewards of social media with minimal risk.
In a column titled “Who’s Afraid of Facebook? Pharma Can Afford to Speak Up Via Social Media”, LeClairRyan attorney Patrick J. Hurd, who is a senior counsel in the Norfolk, Va., and Washington, D.C. offices of the national law firm, notes that enough bright lines can be gleaned from FDA warning letters, draft documents, and other resources to enable the industry to leverage social media tools in useful ways.
“Companies cannot compete in the global marketplace without embracing social media as an essential tool for communicating with potential customers, other organizations and entities in the supply chain and the public at large,” Hurd told Med Ad News Daily. “Unfortunately, U.S. laws and regulatory requirements reflect decades-old technology, handcuffing companies, especially those in the drug and device industry. As an FDA and Healthcare attorney, I wrestle with these issues daily in an effort to assist companies in expanding existing markets and opening new ones while ever-mindful of the legal minefields they must traverse.”
In his column, Hurd cites the progress that drug and device companies such as AstraZeneca have made in adjusting to the realities of online media. The company has a white paper on its corporate site outlining five overarching principles regarding social media use.
“Companies should focus their efforts on those social media tools that reach priority target markets in the most efficient, timely and effective ways,” says Hurd. “Prudence must dictate such use; overzealous statements and excessive ‘hype’ serve only to foster compliance and enforcement actions among regulatory agencies, not only for such companies but the pharma/device industries in general. Companies must also engage in dialogue with such agencies, educating regulatory staff on industry needs and effective ways to permit expanded use of social media within the current regulatory environment as well as proposing statutory and regulatory changes to improve such use.”
Pharma Should Embrace Social Media Despite Regulatory Limbo, Hurd Says
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