Time for FDA to hire some pharma marketers?

Turns out the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t achieve the impact it’s looking for in communications with physicians. That finding is drawn from a new paper that evaluates the impact of FDA warning labels and public health advisories over the past 20 years.

Some disappointing examples are noted:

  • FDA recommended diabetes monitoring for patients taking atypical antipsychotics, but testing did not increase
  • Warnings of drug/drug interaction weren’t heeded –at least for 18 months
  • When FDA warned about prescribing drugs in certain populations (e.g., atypical antipsychotics for dementia) there was an across the board reduction in prescribing
As I read the article, it occurred to me that FDA could learn best practices from big pharma about communicating with physicians and maybe should bring some onboard to help. With all the layoffs in pharma that should definitely be doable.
But the article stole my thunder, quoting a physician saying the same thing:
“The agency might learn a thing or two from the pharmaceutical firms that it regulates with respect to risk communication,” [Dr. Alexander from U Chicago] said. “They should be using principles of market segmentation to identify high-volume prescribers and then disseminating or conducting messaging of drug risks to those specific physicians.”
February 2, 2012

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