Social Media and the Pharma Industry

PharmTech’s February issue will feature a guest editorial by Aaron Davidson, a partner in the life sciences practice at Baker Botts, on social media and the pharmaceutical industry. In his editorial, Mr. Davidson points to FDA and a lack of regulatory guidance as the reasons that social media has not caught on in the pharma and bio/pharma industries. FDA’s requirement to provide consumers with FDA-approved promotional materials that contain risk information may limit a pharmaceutical company’s ability to use mediums such as Twitter and Facebook effectively.

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Advancing Pharma’s Social Media Listening Analytics

Guest blog by Ben Comer of Pharmaceutical Executive.

The pharmaceutical industry still lags other industries in spending on outbound social media programs that engage customers directly, but they are – at least Big Pharma is – spending more on so-called inbound social media software and analytics, which lets them listen to what is being said online about brands and unmet needs and match that up marketing strategies. Read more »

Winds of Change at the International Society of Automation Summit

The International Society of Automation’s (ISA’s) 7th Marketing and Sales Summit, held Aug. 15–17, 2012 in Austin, Texas, was themed “New Rules of Customer Engagement: Riding the Winds of Change”, and emphasized the need to adapt to the changing needs, expectations, and behaviors of marketplace decision makers, according to an Aug. 27, 2012 press release. Read more »

Pharma’s First Facebook Game

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeThis morning I received a press invitation from Boehringer Ingelheim for the beta launch of its Facebook game, Syrum. The game is the first of its kind to be developed by a pharmaceutical company. Syrum’s website is already up for people to view but the game won’t be officially launched until September. Read more »

Merck and Merck Face Off

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeWe love social media here at, but many pharma companies have been wary about how to make the most of these new communication platforms—and understandably so given that last year Novartis received an FDA warning letter about a Facebook widgit on its website.

One pharma company that does seem to love social media though is Germany-based Merck KGaA—so much so that the company was prepared to go to court when its Facebook page was recently taken over by US rival Merck & Co. Read more »

Pharma Scammers A Tweet

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeThe pharma industry has been scratching its head for some time about how best to exploit social media and efforts in this area have been tentative with uncertainty over regulations. Pharmaceutical spammers, on the other hand, have little reason to hold back. Already, spammers are taking advantage of Twitter to promote cheap pharmaceutical products such as Viagra and Levitra. Indeed, a recent study by the University of Akron in the US explained that Twitter “presents a new forum for spammers to facilitate illegal pharmaceutical scams”. Read more »

Hackers, Ahoy! Is Pharma Prepared?

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeAs a geek, I’m interested in anything related to computers so throughout June I’ve been following the reports of hack attacks on a number of big names including Sony, Nintendo, the Brazilian government and the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Earlier this week, the news website Information Age also reported that Bayer’s Italian website experienced “illegal interference” by hackers last weekend. At the beginning of June, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) was also attacked by the hacking group Lulz Security (commonly known as LulzSec). In an email sent on 9 June, LulzSec claimed to have obtained admin passwords from the NHS website. The email also added: “We mean you no harm and only want to help you fix your tech issues.” Read more »

Pharma Is Over the Social Media Hump. Now What?

Julian Upton Pharm Exec EuropeSo, pharma is — arguably — “over the social media hump.” Everyone now “wants to do it”. But how does pharma do it? How can companies successfully use social media to market their messages and their products? That’s the question addressed in Pharm Exec’s new episode of Pharma Faceoff, chaired by Barbara Ryan of Deutsche Bank. Read more »

Pharma QC in New Media

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editor A recent survey by the management-consulting firm Accenture shows that US consumers seeking medical advice turn to medical websites, social-media sites, online communities, and informational websites in far greater numbers than they turn to the websites of pharmaceutical companies. The survey results underscore an important question for pharmaceutical companies: namely, how to use new media more actively in their own communication while ensuring the overall quality of online information for  pharmaceuticals. Read more »

B2B 2.0

Peter von DyckWhile the FDA’s November 2009 hearings on social media regulatory concerns focused primarily on guidelines governing pharma’s consumer communications, one issue was largely overlooked during the hearings and ignored in the media coverage: the use of highly targeted social media sites for healthcare companies to communicate with other businesses within the industry, as well as service providers across the industry. And though FDA’s oversight might indicate otherwise, this brand of business-to-business communication via secure online market places — used to accelerate dealmaking, sales and collaboration — is expanding. Read more »

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