Drug Safety Smartphones and Social Media

Social media, app and smartphones are going to be used in a revolutionary European drive to find news in gathering information on suspected adverse drug reactions and will impact drug safety

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency or MHRA who are the UK’s medicines regulator are looking to lead a consortium of different organisations across Europe that include the European medicines regulators, academics and the pharmaceutical industry. The project is to be called WEB-RADR and is expected to be a three year project.

WEB-RADR is a response to smartphones, apps and social media becoming adopted platforms to discuss issues with medicine and health. The new project looks at and discusses how far the pharmaceutical industry should monitor digital communications for reports of adverse events. Members of the pharmaceutical industry have to disclose with regulators of any adverse reports.

The project is looking to develop a mobile app for healthcare professionals and public to report any suspected adverse reactions to treatments directly to national EU regulators. The group are also exploring how they can use publicly available social media data that is identifying potential drug safety issues. The consortium has also been quick to stress that any data from social media used in the project will be made anonymous to protect data privacy.

As well as reporting suspected adverse reactions, the app could be also developed to send accurate, timely and up to date medicines information to patients, clinicians and caregivers.

WEB-RADR will also examine the value of these new tools for monitoring drug safety. It will help to develop recommendations for medicines regulators and the pharmaceutical industry internationally on how these should be used alongside existing systems.

The new project is to be funded through the Innovative Medicines Initiative, which is a public private partnership between the European Commission and European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations.

Mick Foy, Group Manager in the MHRA’s Vigilance and Risk Management of Medicines division said:

The growing use of smartphones and tablets by patients and healthcare professionals creates a need for reporting forms to be provided on these platforms to ensure regulators receive ADR reports that are easy to access and complete.

Additionally the recent growth of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and the many specialist sites and blogs has given rise to many people sharing their medical experiences publicly on the internet.

Such data sharing, if properly harnessed, could provide an extremely valuable source of information the monitoring the safety of medicines after they have been licensed. WEB-RADR will deliver recommendations for international drug safety monitoring as to how these resources should be used ethically and scientifically.”

WEB-RADR project is part of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), the IMI is Europe’s largest public private initiative and is aimed at speeding the development of better and safer medicines for patients. The IMI are big supporters of collaborative research projects and also builds networks of industrial and academic experts in order to create a boost in European pharmaceutical innovation.

Alex Carson

PiR Resourcing leaders in senior life science resourcing. For more news and information, you can follow us on Twitter and LinkedInFor all our latest roles in the Life Science sector please click here

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