The topic has fascinated study author Dr. Vinay Prasad, an assistant professor of medication at the Oregon Health and Science University, ever since he observed that cancer physicians were tweeting about drugs and medical trials. He and his team didn’t examine the content of the tweets in this research study, so they can’t reveal whether the medical professionals were tweeting about drugs from those business– and whether the medical professionals’ conflicts of interest affect what they share on social media.
Regulatory firms have struggled to come up with guidelines on promoting prescription drugs through social media. In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) presented voluntary standards for companies on how to present the dangers and advantages of a provided item online, even with character constraints. Amongst them are tips to post messages about threats with a link that can direct individuals to a more in-depth listing of side effects. Currently there is no main guidance for physicians on social networks.
In the research study, researchers recognized 634 hematologist-oncologists who were active on Twitter and looked up whether they got personal payments from drug companies, unassociated to research study or grants, in 2014. Many of them did: 72% received payments from drug business and 44% were paid more than a thousand dollars. Payments received by the medical professionals in the research study ranged from $100 to more than $50,000 in a single year.
The study authors say that their findings raise the important concern of whether, and how, a medical professional’s conflict of interest must be revealed on social media like Twitter. Prasad says he believes doctors must reveal their conflicts in their social media bios and consider flagging them when tweeting about drugs or scientific trials by business they are paid by.
Cancer doctors with Twitter accounts have something else in typical: more than 70% of them get funding from drug business, according to a new research study letter published in JAMA Internal Medication.
” Although there are cancer drugs with remarkable benefits, a lot of cancer drugs have limited benefits and real danger and damages,” states Prasad. “People choosing exactly what treatment is right for them remain in a hard circumstance. If part of exactly what’s shaping your view of these drugs is the viewpoint of thought leaders on Twitter, then I believe you can understand if they are paid by drug companies.”
Prasad says his group is currently addressing that question in a second research study, and while the research study is still continuous, Prasad states the practice is prevalent. “It is 100% occurring that doctors who have conflicts of interest are tweeting about those specific drugs,” he says.