Europe eyes social media and mobile for data on bad drug reactions

Europeans want to tackle one of the boogeymen of social media in pharma--adverse drug event reporting. In the name of patient safety, regulators and pharma outfits are seeking proposals for how to tap social media and mobile tech to improve detection of adverse reactions to medicines.

The call for proposals comes from the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), which includes contributions from the European Union and industry. The program aims to build on electronic reporting in the EU and will provide mobile apps for patients to report bad drug reactions, among other goals.

Social media use has grown rapidly across the world, creating new opportunities and challenges to capturing adverse event data. Facebook ($FB) boasts more than 1.1 billion users, with Twitter reporting about half as many accounts. As existing methods fail to detect some bad drug reactions, the IMI's "Web Adverse Events" project seeks new ways to mine social platforms and the web for the information.

Pharma companies have an interest in gaining better mining and reporting tools. Regulations require drugmakers to monitor their digital media for evidence of adverse events from patients and to quickly report them. Still, evidence shows that adverse events reporting from social media has been manageable despite concerns about potentially overwhelming situations, PMLive reported.

The IMI has set aside a budget of nearly 4.6 million euros for the project, with Novartis ($NVS), Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Janssen, AstraZeneca ($AZN), Sanofi ($SNY) and UCB participating.

- here's the release
- find details here
- see PMLive's report