Should Drug Makers Take Action Off Social Media Comments?

I think it’s a fascinating question that was raised around Actos. Here’s the text about a wool.labs report:

In this month’s report on social media’s influence in the world of diabetes, wool.labs presents an analysis of social media conversations beginning as far back as 2002 and continuing to the present, noting a significant shift in patient attitude toward the drug.

Early on, the presenting side effects such as weight gain and edema drew concerns and warnings from some patients. Some questioned whether the drug should be used in combination with insulin. But even while the debate raged on, wool.labs’ analysis showed the conversation could have been shifted had drugmaker Takeda meaningfully interceded before 2006 when comments about the drug began to turn sarcastic, and before long, angry and hostile.

There are enough tools and companies out there that IMHO companies (and brands) should be able to actively manage social media sites to understand what consumers think.  I don’t know this case specifically so I won’t comment on it, but certainly, companies need to have a robust Voice of the Customer process by which they understand what consumers think of them.  And, if it avoids future litigation, leads to add-on products, or even helps re-position a current product, this mechanism can be very valuable.

5 Responses to “Should Drug Makers Take Action Off Social Media Comments?”

  1. George-Thanks for the post on this study.

    Adam- The fact that the FDA has not yet published guidelines on promotion in social media has no baring on the issue that is being highlighted here. The fact that patients and physicians are discussing important topics in these venues is what manufacturers need to focus on. To date, as far as I am aware of, no company has violated any regulation for listening to questions that are raised by their customers.Given that our technology is available and is being used by many healthcare companies to gain important intelligence on such issues we believe that not listening to this kind of data is willful ignorance. Every drug maker should be listening, learning and changing based on real market intelligence.

  2. would you also support drug makers manipulating social media ?

    • Of course not. I wouldn’t support anyone “manipulating” social media, but there are a lot of positive things that a drug manufacturer can bring to the table. They (like anyone) should disclose who they are and share as appropriate.

    • Manipulating- NO! Learning and providing informed content-YES. Developing better educational programing-YES. Being responsible for it’s marketing and information dissemination – absolutely.

  3. Manufacturers are in a difficult position regardign social media. According to Mark Senak at Eye on FDA, the FDA has not even published DRAFT guidance on social media for pharma companies. Yikes!


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