Nowadays, it has become the norm for people to go directly to the Internet or social media to research information on a particular topic. The pharmaceutical industry, however, is “sitting on the sidelines of social media,” according to congressman Billy Long. Long has become a strong advocate for pharma companies to publish more information about their products online, especially since his daughter’s recent diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. However, the FDA has many regulatory restrictions and safeguards that inhibit pharma companies from sharing information and engaging in dialogue with patients.
Long believes that the FDA needs to change its regulatory procedures and enable drug companies to have a larger presence on social media. He recently proposed H.R. 2479, which “would simply push FDA to update its regulatory approach… to keep up with today’s technology.” A key provision of the bill is that marketers could now use hyperlinks to lead to more complete risk and benefit information than can be conveyed in a typical social post. However, FDA is not very keen on that idea: the so-called “one-click” rule.
In today’s world, people look for the fastest and easiest ways to access information. Long feels strongly that regulatory policy must be updated in order for pharma companies to publish their information in a thorough yet easy way for people to access and understand. The bill is currently in the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. Long has high hopes that this bill will succeed in enabling pharma companies to build fluid, two-way relationships with patients and other key audiences via social media.