Nov 12, 2009

FDA Social Meeting Day 1 Late Morning Summary

Much more discussion evolved during the late morning sessions. I'd like to highlight two presentations, one from WebMD and one from WEGO Health.

WebMD
WebMD's position is true. Web 2.0 (when done correctly) offers an effective method by which we can inform consumers of accurate information, enabling them to take control of their health -- or at least play a more active role in it -- and enhance their dialogue with their doctors. Period.

Let's face it. Virtually all doctors are online. And, virtually all consumers are online. It is CRAZY that we are severely limited in our ability to provide platforms by which to connect them, and each other.

WebMD's CEO put it best "credible information improves [doctor] to patient interaction and improves health outcomes."

Further, "75% of doctors recommend websites to their patients as they leave the office."

Question: What information do we (and FDA) want them to have access to? The right information? Or unregulated information that might not be safe (hello? can anyone say guidelines?)

WebMD Suggestions:

  • Add a "Report Abuse" button or link wherever possible in social spaces so that if someone is being irresponsible, they can be reported to the company (and FDA) and follow-up corrections can be made. It helps in monitoring and correcting inaccurate information.
  • Prominently display a link to FDA's MedWatch site to enable consumers to properly report adverse events. All parties will get better results and we can stop trying to evaluate what is and is not a reportable event.

FDA Questions:

  1. What about pharma reps participating in conversations? (this is no different than a hallway discussion with a doctor. Make them follow the same practices they do now. If they get caught violating protocol, consequences are severe)
  2. How many people click the MedWatch adverse event tool? (WebMD to get back to FDA with data)
  3. Does data exist to support that consumers truly understand links? (WebMD responds that links ARE the Internet. It is common. Do not need data)
  4. Can WebMD provide data on links clicked on their site, and where users clicked to -- to build support for this assumption? (WebMD to provide follow-up data)

WEGO Health

WEGO is comprised of content contributing health activists. Chances are the top bloggers and content contributors you want to talk about your product can be found there. WEGO asserted the position that they are disappointed companies are not involved in the conversations, would "welcome them at the table" and came out and said the FDA is scaring them away from the conversation.

The issue around correction of information was a heated topic. WEGO activists absolutely want pharma to police the web and correct as many incorrect statements as possible. With a tone of realism, they also stated that it is too expensive, with too many resources required, to reach that lofty goal.

Their Conclusion (and that of the morning): Take a step. "Best effort" is all we are asking for.

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