RICHMOND, Va. (October 3, 2012)--Researchers at the University of Virginia and West Virginia University are looking into whether social media can help identify drug side effects more quickly, which could save both lives and money.
The team will sift through innumerable posts on Twitter, online message boards and blogs to search for early-warning signs of adverse drug reactions.
Once drugs are on the market and on store shelves, federal regulators rely on consumers to report drug reactions to their doctors and through other channels.
The researchers say using social media could modernize surveillance of drug side effect and interactions, making it faster than current methods.
Companies already use the Internet to get consumer feedback, but the team says using social media to track pharmaceuticals could have a major impact on public health and safety.