AZ pitches social-media rules to FDA

AstraZeneca has made its social-media pitch to the FDA. In response to the agency's call for comments on new rules for online marketing and communications, the drugmaker outlined some ways interactions with customers--and potential customers--might be governed.

The drugmaker's entire submission is online, so for all the details, you'll want to read it. But we'd like to highlight one of the overarching themes: That certain online communications, such as Facebook and Twitter posts, should be judged not one by one, but as a mosaic of individual comments. That, of course, would enable drugmakers to participate in those sorts of social-media sites without having to balance benefits and risks at every 140-character turn. The balance would be more big-picture than piecemeal.

Another theme: The distinctions between the content on websites a drugmaker owns and controls--such as a brand site set up and hosted by the company--versus sites where it provides content for sponsors to use as they see fit. And then there are the social-media sites, which would include real-time company communications. All of which are distinct from independent commentary that a company has no control over. Different rules should apply in different contexts, AZ suggests.

How the FDA might view these suggestions is anybody's guess; the agency is starting from Square One on this social-media-oversight thing. But what do you pharma-marketing types think of AZ's arguments?

- read the AZ submission
- check out the press release