GSK and Merck are using a social scanning tool called Epidemico to gather social insights after being anonymized. This process allows the companies to use the data without worrying about which posts need to be reported as adverse events to the FDA.
“To put that in perspective, there’s more adverse events discussions online, in social media, in one year than there are in the FDA database since it started in 1968,” [Greg Powell, director of pharmacovigilance at GlaxoSmithKline] said.
GSK was looking at what patients were saying about its drugs, to the tune of 6 million posts on Twitter and 15 million on Facebook, and Merck was working with PatientsLikeMe to study how potential patents for a new drug were speaking about their condition.
What Merck found by examining data from the 90,000 insomnia patients on PatientsLikeMe was that even patients who tell their doctor they’re satisfied with their sleep medication are often continuing to have sleep problems.
Other stories from MobiHealthNews:
- The social cost of FDA’s bias against new technology
- NIH awards UCSF $9.8M for digital health research platform