The FDA doesn’t understand social media

SocialMediaBlueComputerKeyPOST SUMMARY: At the heart of the FDA’s current social media marketing policy is the failure to understand how patients are using the Internet to make healthcare decisions.

Drug companies are right to push back against current FDA guidelines concerning social media marketing. They believe the rules would discourage them from interacting on social networks, leaving consumers without useful information about their products.  Is there anyone who believes that any consumer or patient is going to request an Rx from their doctor because of a Tweet, Instagram photo or even a Facebook post?   Those of us in DTC marketing understand that the patient journey to collect health information and make treatment decisions is not contingent on a single visit to one website.  Depending on the condition and medication, it’s a journey of collecting information that’s important to each patients such as cost and potential side effects.


The FDA would be better served by hiring Manhattan Research to spend the day in Washington, DC explaining to scientists and doctors just how people are using the Internet for health information so the FDA can bring DTC guidelines into the 21st century.


More consumers want to make health care decisions

Patients who research health information online are not driven to do so by mistrust for their doctors. Rather, they do their homework to simply be more informed about and involved in managing their health, according to a study from UC Davis Health System.

61% of people want to make health decisions either on their own (26%) or with input from their doctor (38%). The proportion of people wanting to be “completely in charge of my decisions” rose 4 percentage points in one year, from 2011. This statistic skews younger, with 33% of people 25-34 and 31% of those 35-44 wanting to be “completely in charge.” Only 17% of those 55-64 felt like being totally in charge of their health care decisions.  The key question is how much influence does social media have on these decisions?