Articles Posted in Social Networking

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Here are this week’s stories:

  • Medtronic: Medtronic reported that it paid $15.7 million to U.S. doctors in the first 3 months of 2010. Payments were for consulting fees and royalties. This report comes well in advance of the new law requiring disclosure beginning in 2013. See Medtronic’s searchable database of payments.
  • Digitek: A request for a class certification was recently denied in the Digitek MDL. The MassTortDefense Blog has an update.
  • PediaCare Recall: over 100,000 bottles of PediaCare, formerly manufactured by Johnson & Johnson (and, still being manufactured in their facility), have been recalled. This is a precautionary recall, based on the known problems with the J&J manufacturing facility.
  • AstraZeneca and Social Media: Here is AstraZeneca’s take on the transparency/social media issue.
  • Generic Drugs: The Supreme Court asks Obama’s administration for an opinion as to whether generic drug manufacturers can be sued for inadequate labeling that matches labeling of brand-name drugs. Here is the Eighth Circuit’s opinion, deciding that generic drug manufacturers can be held liable.
  • Celebrities in the News: Dennis Quaid is bringing public awareness to injuries caused by pharmaceutical companies. He settled with the hospital on the heparin overdose of his children, but now he’s going after the pharmaceutical company, Baxter Healthcare Corp.
  • More on Whistleblowing: Wyeth (through Pfizer) is accused of illegally promoting its kidney transplant drug for other organs and specifically among African-Americans, who have greater risks associated wit the drug.

Happy Wednesday!

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This is something every blog must struggle with. What voice should the blog have? First-person (or the blogger variant–the royal first-person, where everything is about “we” and “us,” though the blog is written by one person), or third-person?

SciFi.jpgCorporations frequently choose a corporate voice, making everything about the corporation. The voice of the blog is often the “voice” of the corporation (corporations are legal entities with rights, of course). But, this can be tough to read sometimes, and still manages to lose the personal flair of a first-person narrative.

So, when my Google Reader blog-feed listed AstraZeneca’s recent post, “Connections for Cardiovascular Health,” I was interested to see that they are gravitating toward a first-person voice. The side panel shows that the main contributor and “voice” is Earl Whipple, the blog editor and senior director in the AZ corporate communications group. The sidebar mentioned that others would contribute (the CEO had a post on March 23), but perusing the posts, it looks like Earl is the only contributor except for occasional guests.

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Drug Recall Lawyer Blog Round-Up (03-22-10)

Here are this week’s stories:

  • Avandia: The MayoClinic investigated who authored articles supporting Avandia in medical journals, and discovered that 90% had ties to the manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline (HT: FiercePharma).
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Interesting developments in online social media and drug companies, in the past week. As you know, the FDA has been soliciting requests about how to manage online social media for drug and device manufacturers. This is clearly a lot for drug companies to deal with, and here are some things they should wrap their minds around:

  1. Sanofi-Aventis VOICES Facebook Page: This drug company, maker of the cancer drug Taxotere, learned first-hand the downside of having a Facebook site that allows interaction with customers. That downside is that customers interact. One Taxotere user posted complaints to the FB page about the drug, only to have her post removed. Undeterred, she sent more posts, opened other Facebook accounts, sent more posts, had friends send posts, and just generally assaulted the Sanofi-Aventis stronghold. Finally, Sanofi-Aventis changed their information and stated on the FB page:

    This page is not intended as a forum for discussing sanofi-aventis’ or other companies’ products. As such, Postings that contain product discussions will be removed by sanofi-aventis.

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To follow up on our March 2, 2010 post BigPharma Goes All “Social Media” is a website that features all comments submitted to the FDA on the social networking question. A somewhat more readable version (though, less complete) is at www.fdasm.com.

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AZ%20Social%20Media-03-02-10%29.JPGUp until now, online social networking has been treated mostly as a plaything for some pharmaceutical manufacturers. They will post a few updates on Twitter, maybe start a Facebook page or post a YouTube video or two, but I have not seen much indication that the companies have really bought in, much less that they “get it” (though, some like AstraZeneca may be playing it safe while the FDA works out the regulation aspect).
Eye on FDA has a good summary of what’s happened to get us to this point. Initially, the FDA was more concerned with the content of pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers’ messages. However, last year the FDA realized that there is only so many contraindications you can fit in 140 characters. So, in September 2009, they took the proactive step of setting a meeting (which BigPharma interestingly did not attend), and encouraging comments (open through last month). The hope is that they will be able to draft some sort of guidelines, so everyone knows where the line is.

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