ICPE 2015: Epidemico highlights

August 28, 2015

Epidemico was delighted to participate in the 31st International Conference on Pharmacoepidemiology & Therapeutic Risk Management (ICPE) held steps away from our office in Boston.

Through our booth, many posters, and a #social, we shared our work with a multitude of movers and shakers in the field. The highlight of ICPE for the Epidemico team was the session ‘Turning into the Future of Pharmacovigilance’, where three presentations featured Epidemico’s ongoing work!

1) Michele Thomas, Assistant Director of Strategy and Process Excellence at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), presented “Medication Discussions on Social Media – What are People Talking About?” to explore the extent to which patients and caregivers use social media to share health and medication information including safety, benefits, or other information. 15 GSK medicines were observed on Twitter and Facebook over a one-year period. Over 9,800 posts were obtained, 7,344 of which mentioned at least one of the 15 medicines. The results showed that patients’ discussion themes centered on lack of efficacy (47%), medication benefits (35%), product complaints (12%), and dosing-related topics (6%). GSK was able to distinguish themes among products and changes over time.

2) Director Chi Bahk presented “Essure Problems: Utilizing Facebook and Mobile Apps in Pharmacovigilance”, which analyzed the effect of using a mobile app and social media outreach in AE reporting. 1,349 AE reports were collected on Essure, a permanent birth control device, by engaging a Facebook patient group called “Essure Problems” and encouraging reporting through Epidemico’s MedWatcher app. The results were 15-fold increase in reporting compared to traditional AE reporting channels, with higher VigiGrade completeness scores compared to the global average. We were fortunate to have our patient collaborators Melanie Goshgarian and Krystal Donahue in attendance; they shared their viewpoints on the value of utilizing social media and MedWatcher app in reporting AEs.

3) Finally, our Chief Product Officer Dr. Nabarun Dasgupta presented “Does Direct-to-Consumer Advertising Lead to Stimulated Reporting of Adverse Events in Social Media?” which sought to determine if rates of AEs were related with direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising. We found that in the US, there is an increased rate of AE reporting for DTC TV advertised drugs compared to non DTC advertised drugs. But when compared to Australia, Canada, and the UK (who do not engage in DTC TV advertising), there was a lower rate of AE reporting. This may be due to other variables, such as differences in social media use and/or prescription rates for the selected products between the two defined cohorts. We look forward to further exploring these results and investigating any possible confounders.

Michele Thomas, Chi Bahk, and Nabarun Dasgupta present at the 2015 ICPE
Essure patient advocates Krystal Donahue (far left) and Melanie Goshgarian (far right) with Epidemicans Carly Winokur, Michael Gilbert, and Melissa Jordan

We were enlivened by the ICPE, and impressed by the novel, pioneering work being done in the pharmacoepidemiology field worldwide. We look forward to exchanging ideas and collaborating with new as well as existing partners. Epidemico anticipates continuing to move the needle forward in pharmacovigilance, big data, early signal detection, and beyond for public health advancement.

See you in Dublin next year, ICPE!