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Wanted: Social media innovation to detect AEs

EU-pharma partnership seeks proposals on harnessing the power of the internet and social media to track adverse events

Digital_Intelligence_blog_pharma_thumbAn EU-pharma partnership is seeking to fund ways to harness the power of the internet and social media to detect reports of adverse events (AEs) to medicines and monitor drug safety.

One of the main objectives of the WEBAE project is to develop tools to tap into content already openly available online to both detect AEs and provide patients with the most up-to-date drug safety information.

Funding for the project will come from the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a public-private healthcare partnership between the EU and members of European pharma body EFPIA.

On offer will be a share in the €135m budget that IMI has set aside for its ninth call for proposals, the funding that will also cover projects that focus on frailty and antibiotic development.

When it comes to the call to use social media to monitor drug safety IMI notes that, despite an explosion in the use of social media and mobile apps, official monitoring of AEs is largely confined to official forms.

It's an area that fills many pharma companies with horror, even though the often voiced fear about a perceived unmanageable flood of AEs from new digital channels flies in the face of the available evidence.

In the UK, at least, more clarity came earlier this year on the pharmacovigilance implications of social media, apps and websites in the form of new ABPI guidance for the area.

Nevertheless, the IMI's focus is another reminder that regulators and authorities across Europe have struggled to keep pace with the way social media and mobile apps have changed traditional ways of operating.

The aim of the WEBAE - Leveraging Emerging Technology for Pharmacovigilance project is to form a specialist public private consortium that will research appropriate policy and technology solutions for using web-based media mining and crowd-sourcing technologies in pharmacovigilance. Its ultimate goal will to be strengthen the protection of public health.

• The deadline for submitting Expressions of Interest is October 9, 2013 and there is more information about IMI's WEBAE project online

10th July 2013

From: Research

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