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Posts Tagged ‘Youtube

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

eDTCA 2.0 for big pharma in the US

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Study about DTCA practices by the 10 largest Pharma:

Pharmaceutical direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) is legal only in the United States and New-Zealand(…)

It is linked with inappropriate medication use, over utilization, and increased spending on expensive branded drugs, and it may endanger public health due to promotion of potentially dangerous products. (…)

With the Internet’s rapid development, users have migrated from passive information sources, using read-only “Web 1.0” technology, to interactive, dynamic, and custom-built relationships, using “Web 2.0” technologies.

Along with this digital revolution, new potential DTCA marketing opportunities haven recently emerged that include Web 2.0 social networking sites and other interactive systems (“eDTCA 2.0”), which cross geopolitical borders.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not issued guidelines on eDTCA 2.0 marketing, nor have regulators recognized eDTCA 2.0 and its potential global spillover.

Presence is strong:

– 100% are on Facebook, have blogs and provide RSS feeds

– 80% have dedicated YouTube channels and are developing mobile applications

The point is that social media are also used by illicit drug sellers to promote online sales…


Liang, B.A. & Mackey, T.K. Prevalence and global health implications of social media in direct-to-consumer drug advertising. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2011, Vol. 13, N°3, pp. e64

Written by hbasset

October 18, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Posted in Pharmaceutical Industry

Tagged with , , , ,

Social Media and Health: opportunities for Pharmacists

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The authors advocate for an engagement of Pharmacists into new technologies.

Some findings:

Social media resources such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube offer several unique features that may be used to advance the role of pharmacy in health care initiatives. Coupled with patient behaviors and desires, these technologies are stimulating a move toward more open and transparent access to health information.

 Health information accessed on the Internet appears to be well trusted by users. (…) As opposed to other platforms that may engage large audiences (e.g., television, radio), social media applications offer message-tailoring capabilities and interactive, participatory environments.

However, a variety of factors may contribute to resistance toward social media use in health care, including a general lack of familiarity and concerns over the privacy and security of health-related information.


– to reach the right audience (right tools, and level of knowledge necessary to understand the health information)

– to convince health professionals who have been slow to adopt common electronic communication tools

– inaccuracies, misunderstandings, misuse of online medical advices

 Study case: CDC communication with Web 2.0 during the H1N1 virus crisis.


Pharmacists may continue to serve their patients by providing the most accurate, up-to-date information regarding medications. However, the mechanism for provision of information is likely to change. Despite the slow growth of social networking in pharmacy, pharmacists may soon begin using social media tools such as blogs, microblogs (e.g., Twitter), videos, and other tools to reach their patients in the manner desired.

The profession, on both individual and group levels, must become more versed in social media. Public health professionals should interact with the social media industry (e.g., Web designers, social media experts) more frequently to proactively discover and take advantage of unique opportunities afforded by these applications.

Cain, Jeff, F. Romanelli, and B. Fox. “Pharmacy, Social Media, and Health: Opportunity for Impact.” J Am Pharm Assoc 50.6 (2010): 745-51.


Written by hbasset

March 26, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Elsevier TrainingDesk

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The Elsevier TrainingDesk is the place where the publisher makes
available online trainings for major products like Scopus,
ScienceDirect, Illmuni8, etc., including videos from YouTube.

It includes now also trainings produced by the Elsevier’s customers

Written by hbasset

November 12, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Posted in Tools

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Scopus on YouTube!!!

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In last June, Elsevier has launched Scopus TV on YouTube, presenting short videos which mix marketing speeches with end-users testimonials.

Scopus TV:

A same channel for ScienceDirect:

Written by hbasset

September 28, 2009 at 8:16 pm