In an article in Nature Medicine, Craig Lipset, Pfizer's head of Clinical Innovation for Worldwide Research, points out the elephant in the lab when it comes to modern clinical trials and social networking:
Just as patients conversing among themselves may put the scientific integrity of a blinded clinical trial at risk, researchers who monitor participant conversations on treatment assignment may jeopardize their ability to maintain their own blinding. If a researcher spots an adverse event conversation on social networks, what should she do?
"Engage with research patients about social media," by Craig H. Lipset Nature Medicine Volume 20, Number 3, March 2014 p. 231
Lipset does not call for patients or researchers to swear off of their Twitter accounts or personal blogs while they are participating in studies. He acknowleges that in a patient-centered future of clinical trials, social media tools could be leveraged to make research and drug development better. In the meantime, however, he cautions against the problems that will almost certainly arise if researchers and regulators do not tackle them head-on and soon.
Lipset's full opinion piece in Nature Medicine is paywalled, but worth the read.
*TMI: Too Much Information - way more than you need/want to know about someone. From Urban Dictionary.