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New Research: Only 0.3% Talk About Personal Drug Side Effect Experiences Online

We’ve just wrapped up our latest research project this week and released the findings here.  We analyzed the occurrence of Adverse Event Reporting (AER) which is a clinical way of saying people talking about their experiences with side effects when taking medications. AER is a federal mandate that requires pharmaceutical companies to report certain adverse changes in health or side effects of their products discussed by users on social media sites. The purpose of the study was to understand how much of the conversation about pharmaceutical brands on social media sites, including forums, blogs and Twitter, meet the requirements of an Adverse Event (AE). The findings showed only 0.3 percent of all posts contained an AE and even fewer met the federal reporting requirements for an AER (e.g. provided contact details). This presents an extremely low risk for pharmaceutical marketers looking to embrace social media initiatives.

These results indicate that pharmaceutical marketers who engage in diligent monitoring of social media for mentions of their brands can expect to see some mention of adverse events; however, this is a very low percentage of the overall conversation happening online. It can be used positively to help drug makers more effectively identify potential safety issues with the product earlier in its lifecycle, minimizing the risk for a crisis and more serious patient outcomes. Social media also offers the opportunity to foster customer relationships and establish more personalized healthcare services.


Jackie Kmetz

~Social Intelligence Crusader

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