“Sticky” Patient Comments On Facebook

The conversation about Facebook’s changing commenting policy has been going on for a while now. In a recent, very detailed overview on Pharmaphorum.com, Wendy Blackburn lists the new risks and the possible solutions for the recent  challenges. And finally there are multiple ways of dealing with this issue surface instead of the regular “keep the comments disabled or turn away from Facebook” answer.

The post also highlights certain situations when patient commenting could turn into a problem. People posting off-label use, positive outcomes, their joy over an unfinished clinical trial, their way of using a different dosage of a drug:

“[Drug X] was FDA-approved for asthma but my Dr. prescribed it for COPD and it worked great!”

“Whenever I self-inject [Drug X] I use ice to make the injection feel better and I also take ibuprofen. You should try that.”

“I’ve learned that if I cut my pill in half, I still feel okay, but my prescription will last longer and costs less.”

In the imaginary comments above, you can read about off-label use, unauthorized medical advice and usage not in sync with the recommended dosage. These could all cause problems for a pharma company. But that doesn’t mean that these comments shouldn’t be made possible. They reflect on real situations and sometimes real problems whether they violate regulations or not. Choosing the right platform for this may be challenging, but it is definitely an urgent and crucial task that needs to be faced.

I do understand that unless it is made clear that a pharma company is not responsible for user comments on a Facebook page, allowing these posts are great risk factors. I do agree that this has to be decided. But why wait on the FDA to declare that? Disclaimers work just fine on blogs, Twitter and different social media platforms. Why wouldn’t they be enough for Facebook comments? For content published by others than the company?

There are also different tools for keeping your Facebook wall under control. The post mentions extensive monitoring, moderation, filtering or creating a branded page. So there are solutions for “sticky” patient comments on Facebook. They are time-consuming and result in a large workload, so companies have to decide carefully if it’s worth it or not. The question that still lingers is: what can we do about the issues, like the examples quoted before that have to be hidden on social platforms? Where are those notions going to be addressed?

For more interesting and exciting posts, check out Pharmaphorum.com!

(Source: Pharma on Facebook: past, present and future)

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