Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Role of Social Networks in FDA Morphine Reversal

Thanks to all the people who emailed, called, and talked about the FDA's memo on stopping production of highly concentrated liquid morphine and other opioids. The comments came very quickly after the post went up on Pallimed on April 1st. As Drew noted, the FDA reversed the decision. From listening to the teleconference, I thought Dennis Throckmorton and the FDA were immensely conciliatory and apologetic in not discussing the matter with the hospice and palliative medicine community. I imagine there will be many more discussions in the future now that they realize we are here.

It was pretty amazing the FDA reversed their decision in only 9 days. Obviously a lot of it has to do with the efforts of the AAHPM, NHPCO, and the HPNA leaders getting together to present a united front. But behind that is another important story. The role of social networking in getting this message out. It was fax, email, Twitter, Facebook, face to face, phone calls, and blogs. So I put together a slide show to review the order of events from my viewpoint; how I came to find out about the memo, how that message was passed on, how we can learn from this event. (best viewed in full screen)


Pallimed readers were an important part of the leverage of the social network. Could this have happened without Pallimed, Twitter or Facebook? Of course. But an argument could be made for developing more robust and dynamic social networks in our field to help spread the messages important to our field.

Do you have any stories about how you heard or passed on information from the FDA memo reversal?
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