Monday, December 10, 2012
Diabetes Patients and Drugmakers Connect
I came across an interesting article on NPR, “Social Media Help Diabetes Patients (And Drugmakers) Connect.” The article discussed how people with diabetes have used social media to create an online community. The community allows members to share videos with advice on everything from removing an insulin pump to telling your date you have diabetes. The site even offers reviews of products to treat diabetes. The community has become so influential that drug companies have started to take notice. Some pharmaceutical companies have even gone as far as creating their own social media sties and or sponsoring bloggers.
However this online community is not without its critics. Those in opposition of the site feel that pharmaceutical companies will use social media to promote their gadgets in a deceptive way. And with their being no current regulation critics also fear that this may drive pharmaceutical companies to create false blogs representative of their company to help propel sales.
The FDA is currently working on guidelines for drug companies and social media to ensure that drug companies are not exploiting the public through the use of social media. True to form the FDA is behind the technology by forced to draft guidelines after the usage has already posed a potential problem.
This article discusses common concept we have discussed numerous times throughout our course. Is it the place of the government to regulate user generated content and if so where is the line drawn? It seems practical enough now to formulate regulations that protect citizens from being exploited by large pharmaceutical companies, but later how will this form of governance effect the voice of this online community and network overall? Will censoring the voices of a few silence the entire group, will it deter participation or will it legitimize the online community as a place to receive honest information and help? It will be interesting to watch these questions get asnwered as these two worlds continue to collide.