February 07, 2006
The FDA and social sciences
Mark Thoma at Economist's View points to an article in today's Financial Times (available to University of Michigan affiliates via ProQuest Research Library) about the Food and Drug Administration's use of sociological methods to measure perceptions and communication risks.
The agency overseeing food, drug and medical devices is making a big push into social science, according to people familiar with the matter, with the hope of using this expertise to better measure, understand and regulate product risks and consumers’ and doctors’ responses to those risks.
According to the article,
Several current and planned studies by the FDA highlight its early steps to increase use of sociological tools in regulation. The agency expects to begin a study soon on whether coupons and other free offers used for drug advertising in print media affect consumers’ perceptions of the products’ risks. ...
The FDA is also planning a study on how drug-label terminology affects the way people gauge the severity of the potential risk, and one which would assess whether risks and benefits are fairly balanced in broadcast media drug advertisements.