Less than half a per cent of social media mentions of pharma brands contain an actionable adverse event.
That was the conclusion of a 2011 study by monitoring and analytics firm Visible Intelligence, after it scoured sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for mentions of more than 200 major pharma brands.
The company noted: “Our research indicates that pharmaceutical marketers that engage in diligent monitoring of social media for mentions of their brands should expect to see some mention of AEs within this discussion.
“However, the volume of AEs is not likely to exceed what can be handled through existing adverse event reporting channels established for traditional/offline reporting methods.”
The 30-day study monitored social media channels for mentions of 224 major pharma brands (153 prescription-only medicines and 71 over-the-counter products). The prescription-only research arm focused on statins and anti-hypertensives, while the over-the-counter part of the project looked at antacids and decongestants.
The researchers defined an adverse event as any “unfavourable and unintended sign”. This included abnormal laboratory findings, symptoms or disease associated with the use of a medical treatment or procedure, regardless of whether it is considered related to the medical treatment or procedure, that occurs during the course of the study.
The study collected data from a range of social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Reddit, blogs, forums, message boards, online communities, news sites and health sites. The data was then cleaned, enriched and analysed using Visible Intelligence's social media monitoring and analytics platform. countries.