Posted 02 January 2013
By Alexander Gaffney, RF News Editor
Here at Regulatory Focus, we love Twitter. The micro-blogging website, occasionally more noted for its celebrity handles, parody accounts, over-shared information and boring observations is also something most people don't realize: an excellent tool for gathering regulatory intelligence.
Call it social media regulatory intelligence, if you will.
Between the editors and other staff here at Focus, we follow over a thousand people on Twitter, ranging from reporters to regulatory agencies, trade groups, advocacy organizations, disease groups, consultancies, companies, lawyers and regulatory professionals.
But who should you be following on Twitter if you're interested in gathering regulatory intelligence? We're glad you asked. We've scoured our accounts to find 25 of the absolute best accounts-the people you simply must be following-and arranged them by topic areas and industry expertise.
Ed Silverman, Pharmalot (@Pharmalot) - Among the pharmaceutical industry, Ed is a household name. And for good reason-his fast-paced mix of in-depth and breaking news articles keep his readers up-to-date and in the know. He also keeps up a fast pace of work, rarely missing a day and usually posting more than five articles per day.
Matthew Herper, Forbes (@MatthewHerper) - Herper's work can often be found on the front page of Forbes Magazine, where he's interviewed the likes of Bill Gates for profile pieces on the development of new therapies for third-world countries. He's regularly knee-deep in regulatory topics, and in particular approval trends at FDA.
Derrick Gingery, The Pink Sheet (@DGingery) - If it has to deal with pharmaceuticals and the US Congress, Gingery is your go-to. Perhaps more than any other person on Twitter, Gingery has his pulse on what's going on inside of the congressional committees that matter to the pharmaceutical industry.
Tracy Staton, Fierce Pharma (@FiercePharma) - Staton has written for Fierce Pharma for years-at least 2008, by our count-and that experience shines through in the @FiercePharma Twitter account, which is one of the most active-and best--pharmaceutical news accounts on all of Twitter. Look for a mix of news from the Fierce accounts and other top news outlets.
Medical Device Industry
Larry Husten, Cardiobrief (@CardioBrief) - If you're looking for authoritative news on cardiovascular issues-either from a medical device or pharmaceutical perspective-it's hard to do better than Husten, who is regularly among the first to tweet about breaking regulatory news topics. Husten is also a contributor to Forbes.
Mark Hollmer, Fierce Medical Devices (@MarkHFierce) - For some reason, there aren't a lot of medical device news people on Twitter. Hollmer makes up for that absence with a flurry of timely news on everything from regulatory issues, congressional actions and M&A activity in the sector.
Brian Buntz, MD+DI (@Brian_Buntz) - Editor-at-large at MD+DI, Buntz is one of the device industry's most prolific and passionate voices on Twitter. Buntz's news articles are often supplemented with opinion pieces, go-to lists for medical device professionals, and the occasional Twitter chat with trade associations like AdvaMed and the Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDDA).
John Carroll, Fierce Biotech (@JohnCFierce) - A seasoned pro of the biotechnology beat, Carroll is a regular tweeter and a prolific writer, as well as head of Fierce's growing biotech publication.
Ryan McBride, Fierce Biotech (@RyanMFierce) - Another Fierce Biotech editor, McBride's Twitter focuses on the ins and outs of biotech-the clinical trials, the advisory committee meetings, the stock and mergers activity, and the regulatory implications of certain decisions.
Legal and Government
FDA Law Blog, Hyman, Phelps & McNamara (@FDALawBlog) - While technically a collection of people, including Kurt Karst and Jeffery Wasserstein, you would be hard-pressed to find a better Twitter account for regulatory news than that of FDA Law Blog. The account is terrific for those interested in breaking legislation, regulations and legal cases.
Scott Gottlieb, American Enterprise Institute (@ScottGottliebMD) - Don't be fooled by the think tank association; Gottlieb is a veteran of both the US Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and tweets prolifically about the regulation of healthcare products, and in particular pharmaceuticals. Gottlieb is widely-almost incredibly so-published, with articles appearing nearly every week in major newspapers and medical journals.
Sarah Karlin, FDA News (@SarahKarlin) - Another FDA Newser, Karlin's Tweets about all manner of things, including Congress, government, FDA and pharmaceutical policy. A well-balanced look at all things US and pharmaceutical.
Donna Young, Scrip Intelligence (@ScripDonnaDC) - One of the most prolific regulatory reporters on Twitter, Young is a regular at Advisory Committee meetings, government press conferences and hearings. She passes on many of the highlights from those high-profile events through her Twitter account.
Rachel Slajda, Law360 (@rachelslaj) - Legal issues can be difficult to track down, and sometimes even harder to understand once you get ahold of a decision or brief. That's why Slajda, who works for the subscription service Law 360, runs one of the best accounts, even if you're not a subscriber. Her tweets readily identify the latest cases and, in 140 characters, why they're important. If you're into the legal side of regulatory, there is perhaps no other Twitter account you need to follow more.
Zach Brennan, FDA News (@ZacharyBrennan) - Is there anything Brennan doesn't cover? The international quality-pharmaceuticals, devices and everything else in-between-beat is Brennan's at FDA News, and his Twitter feed is a wealth of hard-to-find information, links and juicy tidbits of knowledge. This account is a must-follow for almost anyone in regulatory.
Ben Hirschler, Reuters (@ReutersBenHir) - If you've read something insightful about regulatory affairs in Reuters in the past few years, chances are good that Hirschler either wrote it or co-wrote it. He's regularly involved in writing analysis pieces for the newswire agency, which cover pharmaceutical and medical device products in both the US and the EU.
Debra Sherman, Reuters (@DLSherman) - Another Reuters journalist, Debra writes about healthcare, which often intersects with the regulation of products, the conduct of clinical trials, M&A activity among companies, and more.
Katie Thomas, NY Times (@Katie_Thomas) - If you read a high-profile investigative piece about the FDA this year, chances are good that it came from the New York Times, and that Katie Thomas had a part in it. A relative new-comer to the FDA scene-replacing Gardiner Harris-Thomas' influence on the national debate can be hard to match given her tremendous audience. The only downside: She tweets infrequently.
David Pittman, Med Page Today (@David_Pittman) - Formerly at FDA News, Pittman now writes for Med Page Today, where he covers advisory committee meetings, the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, and just about everything relating to healthcare and government.
Jonathan Rockoff, Wall Street Journal (@JonathanRockoff) - Rockoff is one of the Wall Street Journal's pharmaceutical and biotech industry reporters, and his Twitter account is an excellent mix of his work and other interesting articles that he finds across the internet.
BioCentury, BioCentury (@BioCentury) - Sure, the BioCentury folks basically just tweet the articles that otherwise appear on their website. That analysis, however, would miss the fact that when it comes to the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical regulatory space, few entities release more timely or more regular information about what's going on. If a piece of legislation is submitted to Congress, a clinical trial gets delayed, a decision gets rendered or an advisory committee meeting occurs, you'll probably read about what happened that day on BioCentury.
Adam Feuerstein, The Street (@AdamFeuerstein) - Love him or hate him-and he seems to get a share of the latter-Feuerstein is undoubtedly one of the most-read voices in regulatory, obsessively following nearly every pharmaceutical and biotech advisory committee meeting, company press release and clinical trial information drop out there. Feuerstein's account is regularly one of the first to break certain-and often market breaking-regulatory news.
US Food and Drug Administration (@US_FDA) - If you're a US regulatory professional who needs to know FDA news the very second it comes out, you either need to be obsessively checking your RSS feeds, or you need to be following FDA's (many) Twitter accounts. Though their main news is through the @US_FDA account, they also tweet industry specific news about drugs (@FDA_Drug_Info), biologics (@FDACBER), devices (@FDADeviceInfo / @FDACDRHIndustry), recalls (@FDARecalls), and veterinary drugs (@FDAAnimalHealth) from other accounts. The account also regularly posts photos of FDA history-old posters, ads and archive photos-all of which are fascinating.
European Medicines Agency (@EMA_News) - Unlike many agency accounts, EMA's account handlers regularly re-tweet top stories from other EU and organizational regulatory accounts. Need to know not only what's happening at EMA, but also at Italy's AIFA, the World Health Organization, or dozens of EU disease foundations? EMA's account is for you. You might also want to follow EMA's Head of Communications, Martin Harvey (@MartinHarvey100), who tweets out much of the agency's latest news that sometimes doesn't make it to the main account.
International Conference on Harmonisation (@ICH_news) - For such an influential organization, ICH's Twitter account-which we've found to be one of the best ways to stay abreast of what it's doing-is almost criminally under-followed. If you work in the pharmaceutical regulatory space, this account is a must-follow.
What do you think? Did we miss a person or organization you think deserves to be on this list? Tweet at us at @RAPSorg or @AlecGaffney and we'll take your suggestions into account for future iterations of either this list or more specialized ones. Don't have a Twitter account? You can find the whole list here as a static page.
Our methodology on this list is subjective and by no means is meant to be a complete accounting of all good regulatory accounts on Twitter. We certainly left off many in our pursuit of a digestible list. So what criteria went into our selection? Several factors: Tweet frequency, originality of content, the focus of the account, interaction with fellow accounts and their influence. We hope to compile a more comprehensive list of Twitter accounts in the future as a complete resource for regulatory intelligence professionals.