For many of us, the internet and social media are the first places we turn to for feedback about medicines, to make self-diagnoses, educate ourselves about diseases, explore different treatment options, and discuss our own health experiences.
Though the majority of consumer facing companies are now on social media, pharmaceutical companies remain hesitant to embrace social media in any form.
Much of this can be attributed to strict industry regulations and vague guidelines for what these companies can and cannot do with social media.
IMS Health’s report, Engaging Patients Through Social Media, highlights many of the challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry’s adoption of social media including: reporting ADR’s (adverse drug reaction), being able to drive new insights via big data, and understanding what constitutes acceptable communication with consumers online.
To address these challenges, last year, the FDA released a guide aimed at clarifying how pharmaceutical companies can utilize social media.
Unfortunately, the rules laid out in this guide were perceived to still be too vague and led many pharmaceutical companies to react in the safest way they knew — to continue to completely stay away from engaging on social media.
However, while communicating directly with consumers via social media remains a wishy-washy situation for the pharmaceutical industry, many of these companies, as well as their supporting agencies, are finding enormous strategic value in analyzing social data for consumer insights.
In particular, pharmaceutical companies are using social insights to:
- Examine the impact of side effects (on an aggregate level)
- Uncover new product ideas
- Identify and monitor threats to brands and categories of medicine
- Understand the patient experience with diseases
- Perform trend analysis for consumer perceptions of medications
- Track how patients are managing their diseases
- Identify new audiences and create messaging that resonates
In our report, Applications for Social Insights in the Pharmaceutical Industry, we provide an in-depth examination of analyzing social data to provide strategic value for the pharmaceutical and personal care industries.
You can download the report, for free, in the section below.