Social Media in Pharma Summit 2011: Drug Safety

Social Media in Pharma Summit 2011: Drug Safety



How does social media impact drug safety and how should we think about it?

How does social media impact drug safety and how should we think about it?



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Social Media in Pharma Summit 2011: Drug Safety Social Media in Pharma Summit 2011: Drug Safety Presentation Transcript

  • Successfully Incorporating Social Media in a Drug Safety Strategy –Is it Possible?
    Michael A. Ibara
  • Please note:
    I am an employee of Pfizer. The statements or opinions expressed during this presentation are my own and do not necessarily represent those of Pfizer.
  • Michael A. Ibara
    Fundamental Causes
    Solutions (long term / short term)
  • “Social Media”
    Web sites
    Social networking (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Google+)
    Wikis (Wikipedia)
    Blogs (web logs)
    Customer forums
    Micro Blogs (e.g., Twitter)
    Social bookmarking (e.g., digg)
    Location-based services (e.g., Foursquare)
    Virtual Worlds (e.g., Second Life)
    Patient Networking (e.g., PatientsLikeMe)
    by example…
  • Fallacy…
    Adverse event reports are not lilies in the field… there is not necessarily a finite number
    AE reports are the product of awareness and having a framework to observe them
    One of the determinants of the number of AE reports is how much news coverage the particular AE is getting
    So, the rate of AEs found by Nielson is not a rate set by nature, but a rate set by social interaction and awareness, and therefore subject to radical swings in frequency
  • A Rush to Judgment…
    Blindly applying the ‘four criteria’ points out a conceptual problem in the way social media is approached for safety
    What does it mean to have “an identifiable reporter”?
    In the ASTER Study, we identified reports by institution only, not individual reporter
    Another difficulty with the Nielson interpretation is understanding ‘triggers’
    Triggers could be explicit (designed into a system) or implicit (occurrence of a news report)
    Triggers can greatly modify the reporting rate
    A third problem is assuming the workload is proportional to the final output, vs the raw output
    Nielson counted only “serious, unexpected, unlabeled’ AEs, but that’s not what companies will have to look at
  • Online Drug Safety
    James Allen Heywood
  • Extrapolating Comparision Data of Forum Posts
    Forum Posts Reviewed:
    Randomly selected 500 posts from over 360,000
    Identified 35 times the number found by Nielsen Online with identifiable patient, drug, reaction and reporter.
    Extrapolating for our current number of Forum Posts we calculate:
    1,080,000 X .07 = 75,000 potential AE
  • Drug Safety Platform: Free-text data (excluding Forum)
    Free-text assessed for current clients:
    9977 entries of free-text data
    For all drugs in our database 1500 entries contained an identifiable patient, drug, reaction and reporter
    Extrapolating to our current content:
    There are currently over 200,000 free-text entries (Bios, Comments, Advice/Tips)
    200,000 x 0.15 = 30,000 potential AE
  • Total AERS Data
    Number of reports in FDA AERS by reporter since 2000
  • Potential AE Numbers from Forum Posts at 1 Million Members
    March 2009
    June 2010
    Number of Forum Posts
  • Proceedings of the 2010 Workshop on Biomedical Natural Language Processing
    ACL 2010, pages 117-125, Uppsala Sweden, 15 July 2010
  • “…we propose and evaluate automatically extracting relationships between drugs and adverse reactions in user posts to health-related social network websites.”
    Used DailyStrength health-related social network
    Automated web-crawler (‘scraped the data from the raw HTML)
    Lexicon created from four resources (UMLS, COSTART, SIDER, MedEffect)
    Annotated comments
    Used NLP techniques
  • Measuring the Coastline…
    “…the length of the coastline depends on the method used to measure it
    ‘Measuring’ adverse events in social media might be like measuring the coastline – the finer the instrument used, the greater the measurement…
    From Wikipedia: “Coastline paradox”
  • issues
  • Issues
    Who is responsible?
    What are they responsible for?
    What gets monitored?
    What is done with the findings?
    More means more!
    Is it any good?
    Improving public health
    Will this help us, provide any value?
  • causes
  • Current post marketing safety reporting model in U.S. is built on vertical organizations having the resources to find, collect and process safety information
    Manufacturers have been the de facto owners of safety information and responsible for it (focus of regulations) because they were the only organizations able to afford the transaction costs
    Two developments allow for a dramatic lowering of the ‘transaction cost’ of finding, collecting and reporting safety information
    • Healthcare data is moving toward greater digitization
    • There are established and evolving standards for exchanging safety information
    Once transaction costs drop, new business models will be possible
    The Hypothesis
  • ADE Spontaneous Triggered Electronic Reports
    David Westfall Bates, MD, M.Sc.
    Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Brigham and Women's Hospital; Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health (Co-Director of the Program in Clinical Effectiveness)
    Jeffrey A. Linder, MD, MPH, FACP - PI of *ASTER
    Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
    Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston MA
  • Physician
    Ambulatory Clinics
    ASTER at Brigham and Women’s
    Service Provider
    Bus Rules
    *AE Report
    • EHR pt data
    • Physician Assessment
    • Coding & Bus Rule Results
    • Electronic Wrapper
    *”Triggered” Adverse Event Reports
  • "Overall ASTER was well-accepted by the participating physicians, who felt it was unobtrusive and who saw the public health potential.
    “The clinicians, most of whom submitted no reports in the prior year - submitted over 200 reports in 3 months."
    Jeffrey A. Linder, MD, MPH, FACP
    Brigham and Women’s Hospital / Partners Healthcare
    PI on ASTER Study
  • Traditional ASTER
    Paper or separate site
    36 minutes
    Several days or more
    0 reports per physician
    1 page of information
    At point of care
    60 seconds
    20 minutes (triaged)
    5 reports per physician
    7 pages of information
  • The underlying problem is that we’re using rules and regulations and concepts which were developed when data was hard to find…
    …but we’re trying to use them in a world that no longer matches the one in which they were developed
  • "A design representation suitable to a world in which the scarce factor is information may be exactly the wrong one for a world in which the scarce factor is attention.”
    Herbert Simon
    The Sciences of the Artificial
  • We’ve got a safety (and regulatory) system built on sparse, hard to get safety data.But we’re entering a world of abundant, easy to get safety data.
  • [further in…]
    “…the current pharmacovigilance legislative framework is unsuitable for today’s digital era…”
  • implications
  • Let’s play: Is that
  • Publishing Industry accepts digital publishing as beneficial for their business
  • “Print newspapers like The New York Times have struggled with this whole internet thing, in which online users have come to expect free and immediate access to all kinds of information…”
  • Music publishing Industry accepts digital file sharing as beneficial for their business
  • “It was decided that an interpretation of copyright law enabling the music industry to sue for more money than they’ve made in the history of recorded music was necessarily wrong, and accordingly the damages were reduced to “a single statutory damage award from Defendants per work infringed, regardless of how many individual users directly infringed that particular work.”…”
  • Pharma Safety Industry accepts digital healthcare data as beneficial for their business
  • …reconstruction of the field from new fundamentals…
    “The transition from a paradigm in crisis to a new one from which a new tradition of normal science can emerge is far from a cumulative process, one achieved by an articulation or extension of the old paradigm. Rather it is a reconstruction of the field from new fundamentals, a reconstruction that changes some of the field's most elementary theoretical generalizations as well as many of its paradigm methods and applications. During the transition period there will be a large but never complete overlap between the problems that can be solved by the old and by the new paradigm. But there will also be a decisive difference in the modes of solution. When the transition is complete, the profession will have changed its view of the field, its methods, and its goals.”
    Thomas Kuhn 
    The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), 84-5.
  • 4 elements vs 4 questions
    Identifiable Patient
    Identifiable Drug
    Identifiable Reaction
    Identifiable Reporter
  • What is safety data?
    Where does it come from?
    How do we get it?
    What can we do with it?
    Follow the data…
  • Cameron Neylon from the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council is quoted in the Nature article as saying that it makes much more sense to publish everything and filter after the fact.
    We are moving from a world of “filter then publish” to a world of “publish then filter.”
    [Italics mine]
  • We need to really educate ourselves on this if we hope to understand the implications
    What is it?
    Who uses it?
    How do they use it?
    What does it mean for safety?
  • So what do we do?
    What we don’t do is take each case as a unique ‘one-off’ situation…
    Should we monitor/collect from web sites?
    Should we monitor/collect from Facebook?
    Should we monitor/collect from Twitter?
    O, that way madness lies…
  • I’m not saying we shouldn’t collect AEs in social media…
    I’m saying we need to call them something different than ‘serious’ or ‘nonserious’ AEs
    Maybe call them ‘Potential AE Lead Reports’ …
    This data clearly could be very valuable…
    …but this is where our old concepts clash with the new world
  • Even better.. Designate the information from social media as a ‘public good’ …
    Allow searching and matching of potential adverse event ‘pointers’ by pharma, academics, others, with no attempt to apply today’s regulations on reporting
    Reserve those regulations for specific programs a manufacturer runs on it’s drug …
    This could address not only collection issues, but data privacy issues as well
  • What can we get started on today?
    • Consider designating the social media information space a public good
    • Formulate new rules to govern the use of this space
    • Consider new classes of reports on drug safety
    • Information lead
    • Recurring syndrome
    • Well-formed adverse event
    • Serous adverse event
    • Convene groups of informed individuals from pharma, government, academia, to start figuring out how to create the ‘new fundamentals’ for drug safety in the world of digitized healthcare
  • ASTER Safety Consortium
    A group of like-minded companies and individuals determined to take full advantage of digitized healthcare data
    Goals are twofold:
    Explore the implications of the ASTER model to improve pre/post safety reports and other areas of clinical research
    Design and execute a working model in the real world
    Astra Zeneca
    Greenway Medical
  • 1. Social Media is a symptom, not a cause, of what is wrong with safety
    2. SM is both a new source of old data and a potential new source value
    3. We are naturally predisposed to resist thinking this way - as is any established industry when it is threatened by a sudden shift in it's business model brought on by the digitization of its core business
    4. We are now entering the era of abundant data in safety and it is bringing new business models
    5. Solutions to this problem will require a paradigm shift which leads to a reconstruction of the field of pharmacovigilance from new fundamentals
    6. This is creating a divide between those who see the world as it was and those who see the world as it could be
    7. It is possible to begin working, however haltingly in this new paradigm for safety
  • Maynard Keynes (economist) said that …
    …“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it.”