I attended most of the the two day FDA Hearings on use of the Internet and Social Media and was pleasantly surprised. The agenda was jam-packed. It was like speed-dating or some other rapid-fire challenge. While I was skeptical of the format and whether there would be substantive suggestions and ideas, both worked out well.
Speaking on behalf of WOMMA, Melissa Davies (member company Nielsen) and I delivered two different "testimonies."
I addressed questions 1 and 3 from the FDA docket. My goal was to share our recent experience with the new FDA Guidelines, suggest a level of brand responsibility around sites where brands establish a "material connection" and offer a suggestion for a new vocabulary to bring whatever guidelines come from the hearings more up-to-date and aligned with the industry.
Melissa shared her POV on the real instance of Adverse Events based upon some novel research her company had done.
One thing did surprise me. Most of the presentations not-focused on adverse events were focused on digital marketing basics - search marketing, banners, et al. Its true, pharma has been held back in the basics. The FDA needs to deliver some 'pretty good' guidelines on this Web 1.0 stuff quickly and then turn its attention to the true social media practices.
There were quite a few presentations that corroborated our point that the FDA could serve the public best by delivering some basic "guardrails" and then encourage and allow marketers to define the actual best practices around implementation.
We need to create a climate condusive to innovation from the market. That's what led to Web 2.0, social media and the Internet, itself.