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Posts Tagged ‘Pharmaceutical companies

To read: Open Innovation, Social network and advances in Drug discovery

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Extract of a recent good review:

Social networking is beginning to make an impact on the drug discovery process. A convergence of different commercial and publicly accessible chemical informatics, databases and social networking tools is positioned to change the way that scientific and medical collaborations are initiated, maintained and expanded, particularly in the realm of complex, rare and orphan diseases . A community-based platform that combines traditional drug discovery informatics with Web 2.0 platforms and strong privacy is believed to be the key to facilitate richer and instantaneous collaborations involving health care professionals with the same interests.  This way data from differential diagnosis, experiments and new drugs being tested are archived, mined and then selectively shared between colleagues in the Internet with standardized formats.

New drugs are subject to exhaustive crucial scrutiny, yet there has never been a corresponding effort to collect reports of drugs delivering unexpected benefits. If open innovation can lead to the creation of the world’s most complete encyclopedia such as Wikipedia, that same approach could be used to capture the exceptional untapped value associated with existing drugs, and to power the discovery of important new medicines. In the Facebook and Google era, there might be a better, more efficient and systematic way of harnessing this communal wisdom for drug discovery.  (…)

In light of these initiatives, large pharmaceutical organizations are in the process of transitioning from a fully integrated pharmaceutical company to fully integrated pharmaceutical networks with a social networking component connecting members with similar interests as well as project tracking and planning.

Academic and private sectors need user-friendly and efficient tools for information exchange and to share data points from patients. Pharmaceutical companies have interdepartmental databases of patients and samples for research, clinical trials and for patient follow-up, but there is no communication between these databases, even within databases housed in the same company [Social Media in Science and Medicine: To date, there are no social networks in the market that offers useful solutions for science and medicine in the clinical genetics field [Social Media in Science and Medicine: It is paramount for physicians to have reliable tools that will facilitate diagnosis and identify better treatments for diseases. (…)

As in the medical field, there is an increasing need for solutions in the scientific field for networking and communication between professionals with common interests. ResearchGate, and Mendeley are already providing some tools to achieve this goal but more specialized open-source media tools are needed in science and medicine. Despite existing competition in science, the best way for science to have a major impact in society and change the way we approach diseases is through collaboration and networking. In the end, the outcome will be the development of better drugs and faster translation of basic science to the patient’s bedside”.

Fabricio F. Costa. Social networks, web-based tools and diseases: implications for biomedical research. Drug Discovery Today, Available online 23 October 2012

Written by hbasset

October 31, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Big Pharma: Social Media and camouflaged marketing

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An excellent study about how pharma companies use of the internet through direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisements on the internet and internet based “social media”. To identify examples of fraudulent DTC marketing they used 4 major sources of information: scientific literature, gray literature, PubMed and the FDA website.

Some findings:

  • FaceBook: Pharmaceutical companies use this interface to promote drug sales. In July of 2010, the FDA issued a warning letter to Novartis for its Facebook advertising. Many companies removed their Facebook pages after August 2011, despite the fact that companies can delete these comments as soon as they are posted they were concerned that “open walls” would lead to the reporting of side effects, promotion of off-label use or inappropriate statements
  • Youtube:  A number of pharmaceutical companies have established YouTube channels for marketing purposes, including Abbott, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer-Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi Pasteur… while the issues of advertising ethics and adherence to existing DTC advertisement standards are raised by these promotional outlets, of even greater concern are the unbranded (or covertly branded) YouTube channels that a number of pharmaceutical companies have introduced.
  • Twitter: Novo Nordisk uses the branded Tweet technic that does not mention drug benefits to maintain its status as a reminder advertisement. Web reminder ads do not have to provide any information on side effects.
  • Third-party endorsements: People are more likely to believe third party endorsements than identified corporate product advertising. To capitalize on this phenomenon companies have funded patient advocacy groups, disease specific expert panels and physician organizations to promote their drugs. Companies have transferred this clandestine marketing technique to the internet which is particularly well suited to support this subterfuge. Pharmaceutical companies have created websites for front organizations (labeled “Astroturf” sites – for fake grassroots) to promote their drugs. These pharmaceutical company-created websites appear to be unbiased sources of information.

Conclusion: ” Web 2.0 DTC is merely a subset of pharmaceutical marketing; however, as we have shown, it is more likely to be camouflaged, permits companies to directly gather data on patients, and changes rapidly. Internet DTC is difficult to monitor. (…) The majority of the public does not understand the possible side effects and ultimate purpose of DTC advertising; many believe that the mere presence of DTC advertising indicates that a drug is “perfectly safe.”

FDA has repeatedly cited pharmaceutical companies for illegal Web 2.0 marketing. Pharmaceutical companies have repeatedly called on the FDA to regulate web based marketing but the FDA has refused to issue any regulations. Thus Web 2.0 marketing remains an unregulated threat to public health and the general economy that must be addressed“.

Egilman, David & Druar, Nicholas M. 2012. Spin your science into gold: direct to consumer marketing within social media platforms. Work, Vol. 41, pp. 4494-4502. DOI: 10.3233/WOR-2012-0751-4494

Written by hbasset

April 26, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Pharma and Social Media: an excellent source

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An excellent curation page, by Antoine Poignant, with a nice design in Scoop-It!



Written by hbasset

September 28, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Pharma & SM: Stop, Look and Listen

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“Alexandra Fulford on her blog. London-based Fulford outlines an approach based on the “Stop, Look & Listen” technique used to teach schoolchildren how to cross the road without getting run over.

Stop: Pharma needs to cease being afraid of social media; instead, see it as just another communication channel, and wait to see what will happen. Progress can be made within the current regulatory system.

Look: Don’t run into the middle of the road; look first to see what other pharma companies have done and are currently doing in the social space. Learn from their mistakes and their successes.

Listen: All successful social media initiatives have one key action in common: listening. In a two-way medium it is vital to listen to what your target audience is discussing and to keep listening.”

Houston, Peter. Pharma and Social media: ready to make nice? Pharmaceutical Executive, Online, 1st of September 2011.

See also:

Fear of regulators may leave most brands silent and stifled, but the cost of not participating in the digital revolution will only increase over time.  Facebook ads alone have experienced a 45 percent year over year growth***** and the investment required to capture the attention of healthcare practitioners and consumers stands to rise.

As the digital revolution takes hold, pharmaceutical companies must find a way to follow in the footsteps of Genius brands like Pfizer, AstraZeneca for direct to consumer digital marketing, and Johnson & Johnson’s Concerta in their efforts to reach healthcare practitioners online.

Procter, Lauren. Pharma failing to eMarket effectively. Pharmaceutical Executive, Published online, August 31, 2011.

Written by hbasset

September 26, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Pharma rank on the Social Business Index

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The SBI is a free ranking of companies regarding their implication in social business:

Only 1 big pharma (J&J) is in the Top50!!!

  • J&J: 49°
  • Bayer: 98°
  • Abbot: 112°
  • GSK: 135°
  • Pfizer: 403°
  • Merck: 669°
A lot of things to do, it seems!!! 

Written by hbasset

September 14, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Pharma: misuse of social media, say some advocates

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“Consumer advocates are expressing concern that pharmaceutical companies are using misleading marketing techniques to promote their products on social media websites. (…)
  • many pharmaceutical companies monitor patient discussions on social media sites and track consumers’ browsing habits to target them for advertising
  • some drug firms create health-related websites and pay bloggers to praise their products without revealing any affiliation with the pharmaceutical company

Advocates Concerned About Drug Companies’ Use of Social Media. iHealthBeat, posted on 25th of July 2011.

Written by hbasset

July 25, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Bayer apologizes for uncontrolled tweets

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Bayer (BAYRY)’s apology for two tweets about the erectile dysfunction drug Levitra and multiple sclerosis therapy Sativex shows how pharmaceutical companies have been virtually ringfenced out of using social media to promote drugs. (…)

It seems trivial because it is. But tweets, status updates, Facebook “Likes” and other forums in which a drug company’s “official” social media pages can include thousands of added, unapproved comments from members of the public, are proving a huge headache for the highly regulated, risk-averse and deeply conservative world of Big Pharma. (…)

The entire industry awaits policy guidance on social media from the FDA, whose “review” of new digital communications is now in its third calendar year with no final report in sight.

Edwards, Jim. Placebo effect: Bayer apologizes for tweeting: pharma’s never-ending social media nightmare. Online, 6th of July, 2011.



Written by hbasset

July 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm