Principles for product-related online dialogue

By Earl Whipple

AstraZeneca believes health care companies have an obligation to responsibly engage in social media to help patients, caregivers and prescribers make informed decisions about our medicines.

Today, AstraZeneca published guidance we submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for pharmaceutical companies to engage in online conversations on branded medicines. Our guidance was in response to the FDA’s published call for comments back in September and two days of public hearings held in November.

At the core of our proposal are five important principles:

  1. Truth and Accuracy: Content that is truthful, balanced, accurate, and not misleading

  2.  Be Respectful: Respect the interests of patients, caregivers, and health care providers, particularly related to matters of privacy and the primacy of the patient/physician relationship

  3.  Protect and Advance Patient Health: Provide accurate and timely reporting on medicine safety

  4.  Transparency: Any sponsorship should be entirely transparent as to the role of product sponsors as participants in online discusions

  5.  Respect the Views of Others: Acknowledge other opinions but don’t censor or limit these views; rather, add the product sponsor’s views tothe ongoing discussions

This blog represents a corporate presence in social media but, we, like many others, believe it is increasingly important to provide accurate, timely and regulated information about our branded products in conversations with patients, caregivers, and health care providers.

The general public indisputably turns to the Internet for health information and the amount of incomplete or erroneous information that is being published and distributed in social media is concerning. But we can’t be part of these conversations without FDA guidance.

If companies like AstraZeneca are absent in these conversations, where will consumers turn for accurate, timely and regulated information? 

What do you think?  Please review AstraZeneca’s FDA submission and let us know your thoughts.

Click here to view AstraZeneca’s full FDA submission