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Drug Companies Lose Special Protection On Facebook 181

Hugh Pickens writes "Christian Torres writes that Facebook and the pharmaceutical industry have had an uneasy partnership in recent years and many drug companies didn't join the site until Facebook gave them a privilege that others do not have — blocking the public's ability to openly comment on a page Wall. But that's about to change when, starting Monday, most drug company pages will have to have open Walls. 'We think these policy changes support consistency for the Facebook Pages product and encourage an authentic dialogue between people and businesses on Facebook,' wrote Facebook in an email. AstraZeneca, which sells the antidepressant Seroquel, already shut down a page devoted to depression, Johnson & Johnson says it will close four of its pages, and other companies say they will monitor their pages more closely once the changes take effect. The industry is concerned that users might write about bad side effects, promote off-label use or make inappropriate statements about a product, and that the comments could raise concerns from government regulators."
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Drug Companies Lose Special Protection On Facebook

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  • by Assmasher ( 456699 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @08:18AM (#37092900) Journal

    Surely their commercial advertising budgets (which are freaking astronomical and reedonkulous) could afford an intern for this.

  • Heaven forbid (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15, 2011 @08:32AM (#37092992)

    anyone say anything negative about drug companies. Think about it, they're NOT in the business of producing CURES... they make all their money on TREATMENTS. And the longer you have to take their treatment, the more money you're throwing at them.

  • by TraumaFox ( 1667643 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @08:43AM (#37093052)

    I don't really understand the point of pharmaceutical companies even having Facebook pages. I get enough of their advertising shoved down my throat on TV every day, I certainly don't want to be friends with them on Facebook. As far as government regulations go, it's sad enough that these companies have to disable wall postings to suppress people from talking about things like negative side effects, but I find it even sadder if people think the only place to have these discussions is on Facebook pages in the first place.

    I mean, what's the train of thought supposed to be, here? "Oh good, now that I can openly write on a pharmaceutical company's wall, I can finally let everyone know about these horrible side effects their medication caused for me. There was definitely no outlet for this prior to now, and it comes just in time, because these unreported side effects are so bad it almost certainly warrants a governmental investigation!"

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @08:51AM (#37093126) Homepage

    Idealism... what ever happened to that?

    These days, business simply tries to get away with whatever it can rather than take the high road you describe. "Everyone does it" doesn't make it right or good. I really dislike big pharma and it is part of the reason I do all I can to avoid using their products or services.

    Eat right, stay active, seek the causes of problems instead of hiding the symptoms. Sounds simple right? (pretty challenging in practice)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15, 2011 @08:55AM (#37093168)

    your doctor will then report this to the company and the government

    Hahahahahaha. Oh wow, that was funny. You mean the same doctor who gets kickbacks from the same companies he's supposed to report?

    "Hello, Dr. John Doe, we heard you wanted to report unfortunate side-effects caused by one of our drugs. We'd like to talk about it in our new seminar, which will be held in the Bahamas, for two weeks, at a time of your choosing."

    Hilarious :D

  • Re:Wut? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by myurr ( 468709 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @09:10AM (#37093342)

    The problem isn't with the public sharing information, it's the public sharing mis-information. I know a couple of hypochondriacs and they come up with all kinds of crazy theories as to what is causing their latest ailment, and yet the doctors never find anything wrong with them and the changes they make to their diet / lifestyle / medicine / etc. never seems to make a blind bit of difference to their view as to whether or not they're ill in some way.

    These types of people are far far more likely to kick up a fuss on a public web page if given the opportunity to than those of us who generally have a positive outlook on the few medical treatments we have received are likely to post something positive. Look at the fuss over MMR for example.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @09:29AM (#37093542) Homepage

    You did that just fine without violating any individuals personal privacy laws.

    Not that a drug company would be in a position to disclose that sort of information anyways. They simply don't have the persons information. That's as it should be.

    It's time for you to give up being a corporate shill.

  • Social networking (Score:3, Insightful)

    by biodata ( 1981610 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @09:36AM (#37093658)
    There is currently no obvious way for users of a certain drug to get in contact with each other, other than taking out an ad somewhere, or starting a discussion group or whatever. A facebook page devoted to the drug seems like an obvious way to facilitate this, but I think the drug companies might not want to be the ones to make it easy for consumer groups to form around each of their products.
  • Problem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @10:27AM (#37094232)
    The problem with Big Pharma in America and worldwide is that the industry has no interest in a cure for a disease or condition, only symptom mitigation. Big Pharma is concerned that this true motive will get exposed via Facebook. When you take drugs to counter the side effects of other drugs, the regiment ceases to be a cure and designed to keep you buying their drugs until you die because your condition was NOT cured nor was their any interest in a cure because cures don't make money. I think Big Pharma is concerned that other "sleeping" Americans will wake up to this fact once they read about other people's experiences. Medicines were never meant to be advertised and mass marketed! They should remain solely in the realm of the physician and used at the physician's discretion. Big Pharma and doctors have gotten to cozy. I think social media is the answer to this problem.
  • by comp.sci ( 557773 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @11:07AM (#37094648)
    As a matter of fact, medicine has been trying very hard to stop basing its beliefs in "individual experiences" but rather in statistical proof that meds work or don't work. I think people upvoted you because medicine is increasingly impersonal and that's unfortunate, but equating this to listening to personal experiences when discussing medications is ludicrous. Have we learnt nothing from the big vaccine scare? Some people deducted that it was vaccines that cause autism and were treated as equals by the media. This is actively leading to quite a few children needlessly dying. To make this more applicable to Slashdot readers: replace "doctors" with "IT specialists" or "programmers". Should we really treat everybody as equals when it comes to implementing new policies, what technologies to use or which devices to use? Of course not, expertise is needed, otherwise the new policy will be to install at least 4 toolbars for IE 6 on every Compaq computer.

The road to ruin is always in good repair, and the travellers pay the expense of it. -- Josh Billings