There is more and more discussion about medicines and medicinal treatments on the internet and in digital media channels. Satu Vehviläinen works as an expert in Oriola’s pharmacovigilance team and it is part of her job to actively follow these discussions.
Satu, why is it important to monitor online discussion about medicines and medicinal treatments?
- According to pharmacovigilance legislation, pharmaceutical companies are obliged to monitor the internet environments and digital media that they administer and that have an option to enter user experiences of medicines and medicinal treatment. This discussion must be actively followed, for instance through daily monitoring.
What is the objective of the monitoring?
- The aim of monitoring the discussion is to detect possible suspected adverse effects of medicines. Following the discussion and reacting to it is one way of ensuring that information concerning the safety of medicines is appropriately brought to the attention of the pharmaceutical company in order to ensure the further actions required by legislation and, in this way, promote pharmacovigilance.
How is the monitoring carried out in practice?
- We follow online discussions on behalf of our customer companies in the pharmaceutical industry, according to their wishes. For example, we may monitor our customer companies’ social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If we detect potential suspected adverse effects concerning our customer company's products, we will submit this information to our customer so that they can report the suspected issues to the authorities, in accordance with pharmacovigilance legislation. We can also follow comments related to, for example, the quality of products, or respond to questions posted on the website as instructed by our customer.
What is the most interesting side of your work?
- Social media sites are a part of modern-day life, and their use in various types of communication is continuously increasing. It is interesting to be able to follow this development from the point of view of pharmacovigilance. We can perform monitoring on behalf of our customer companies in all the Nordic countries apart from Iceland, which brings a whole new aspect to the work. Of course, the most important part of our work is the improving of patient safety.