February 11, 2010
/ by jay.krall
Photo courtesy of Rennett Stowe via Flickr
Companies that go looking for reasons not to monitor and engage with social media sometimes wind up with what sound more like excuses: rigid cultures, time constraints, organizational siloes, and so forth. But one common objection that is harder to overcome is fairly specific to the healthcare and pharmaceutical space: an uncertain regulatory landscape.
Despite a lack of direction from regulators, some firms have experimented with social marketing projects online, says Christiane Truelove, editor in chief of R&D Directions and Med Ad News, who covers what companies are doing with healthcare and pharmaceutical promotion in social media. With some tips from Truelove, I’ve been looking at these case studies and present for you 5 of the best I’ve found from the past couple of years.
You may notice I’ve gone back several years for some of these examples. More recently, pharma companies have been cautious in social media, awaiting direction from regulators. Leaders in pharmaceutical marketing and advertising discussed some of the regulatory hurdles in a panel discussion at New York University last week.
“There aren’t any firm guidelines from the FDA,” Truelove says. “There are companies that would rather be cautious or safe than be very visible in a social media context and have the FDA come after them later.”
As we’ve discussed here before, Traditionally, pharma companies are required to adhere to FDA guidelines in the realm of “adverse event reporting”. In other words, if they discover a consumer complaining about the side effects of a drug, even if those side effects are well known to be associated with that drug, they must report the complaint to the FDA.
But those guidelines only require that events be reported if the person making the complaint is identifiable; a username like Mustang468724 doesn’t meet that requirement. “Should a company respond to something like that? The general consensus is that they shouldn’t really have to,” Truelove says.
A study by The Nielsen Company found that less than 1 percent of reports of drug side effects found on Yahoo Health boards were required to be reported to the FDA [white paper download].
What do you think? Are pharma companies being too cautious? Or are they better off waiting for direction?
Also be sure to check out Cision Navigator’s new list of the top 10 pharmaceutical magazines.
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