Pharmaceutical companies may have enthusiastically embraced Twitter, at least at a corporate level, but local European regulators have proved somewhat more reticent.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) led the way by signing up to the social network in 2010, but few local bodies have followed suit.
One of those that did was the Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and the UK regulator has just expanded its use of Twitter and launched three new accounts on the social network.
One of these is a corporate account, the use of which tends be pharma’s first step into social media.
The MHRA says its new corporate Twitter presence, @MHRAgovuk, will be used to promote general information and updates, while two other accounts will focus on safety alerts and information about medical devices and medicines.
The regulator has been cautious in its approach to Twitter to date, launching dedicated accounts in 2011 for first herbal remedies and then its press office, the account names of which have been simplified as part of its Twitter expansion.
It remains to be seen how well the use of separate accounts for press and corporate purposes will work, given the potential for subject overlap between the two.
But the use of new, separate accounts for medicines and medical devices seems logical, given the differences in audience for a recall of Merck Sharp & Dohme’s Tredaptive versus that for a mass spectrometer.
• Links to all of the MHRA's Twitter accounts, and many more from regulators, industry associations and pharma companies, can be found in the Twitter section of the Digital Handbook’s pharma social media directory