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5 Reasons Pharma Should Reconsider Instagram


More and more, Instagram is becoming a viable social channel for pharma, if used in the right way. So here are five reasons we believe pharmas should take a new look at Instagram.

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Determining How Much Pharma Spends on Internet vs. TV DTC Advertising is a Daunting Task!


I prepared the chart on the left for the Pharma Marketing News article "DTC Ad Spending Rises from the Grave," which was published this Monday. You should compare this version of the chart to the one I published here on Pharma Marketing Blog last week (here). 

This chart says 5% of pharma's 2014 DTC ad budget went to the Internet (excluding search), whereas the previous version says only 3%. 

This chart says 63% of the budget went to TV, whereas the previous version says 70%. 

I'll ignore print for now. 

Determining the exact amount that the pharmaceutical industry spends on advertising via different media (TV, print, Internet, etc.) is a daunting task. Numbers regarding pharma DTC spending come from two sources: Nielsen and Kantar Media. Both report "measured media" spending, which includes TV, magazines, news-papers, radio, outdoor, and Internet (display ads only, not including search). Kantar tracks over 3,000 media sources throughout the US and Canada, which is a different methodology than that used by Nielsen. As a result, the numbers from these sources often do not match (for more on that, read "Making Sense of Pharma DTC Spending Trends"). 

Why the Differences?

Read more here.

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The Digital Divide in pharma


Across Health blog: the Digital Divide in pharma: HCPs’ needs exceed pharma’s digital offerings, particularly in the medical space. Want to learn more?
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UCB leads "epilepsy hackathon


Hack Epilepsy will bring together developers, designers and digital experts, along with healthcare providers and patients to imagine new ways of applying digital technologies that can make a real difference for the epilepsy community.

Jurjen Söhne's curator insight, April 16, 2:16 AM

Hack Epilepsy will bring together developers, designers and digital experts, along with healthcare providers and patients to imagine new ways of applying digital technologies that can make a real difference for the epilepsy community

How Pfizer Canada is Leading the Pharmaceutical Market in Social Media


Learn how Heather Bisset has found a solution to manage corporate reputation and customer relationships with strategy for corporate social media accounts.
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Patients do not feel connected to pharma


About 25% of patients do not feel connected to the companies that make the medications they depend on for one key reason: They do not see themselves in the marketing with which brands expect to reach them
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IBM Teams up with Medtronic, Apple, and J&J; Formally Enters Health Market | MDDI Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry News Products and Suppliers


Arundhati Parmar IBM announced Tuesday that it has formally created a business unit called IBM Watson Health, based in Boston, that will execute on its overarching goal to transform personal healthcare. To that end, the company is also launching the Watson Health Cloud to "provide a secure and open platform for physicians, researchers, insurers and companies focused on health and wellness solutions," a news release stated.
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Customization: Why healthcare brands should get personal


Healthcare, pharmaceutical and insurance companies can solve the needs of consumers by drawing inspiration from some of the most innovative companies in the world, both in and outside of the...
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AstraZeneca To Use Patient-Reported Data From PatientsLikeMe for Pharma Research


PatientsLikeMe announced this morning a five-year agreement with AstraZeneca to provide patient-reported data in support of the pharmaceutical company’s research initiatives. This is a first of its kind agreement for AstraZeneca and signals an...
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Des médicaments remboursés en cas d'inefficacité


Les laboratoires pharmaceutiques peuvent désormais rembourser l'Assurance maladie en cas d'échec de certains traitements.
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Is Digital Marketing Doing More Harm Than Good for Pharma?


Pharma has certainly ramped up digital campaigns, but the rapid adoption may not be an advantage for all Pharma companies.
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#Pharma Mobile Health Apps: If You Build Them, ...


It’s hard to find a pharma or medical device company these days that doesn’t have at least one mobile app in development. And now that, as of February 2015, the U.S.
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Le "numérique déroutant" résumé en une infographie par Bpifrance Le Lab


Le numérique, qui représente 5,5% du PIB et 3,3% des emplois en France, est une formidable opportunité à saisir... mais aussi une source de boulversement pour toutes les industries "traditionnelles", et en particulier les PME et ETI. Bpifrance Le Lab résume les grands mouvements à l'oeuvre dans une infographie.
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#Pharma Mobile Health Apps: If You Build Them, Will Physicians "Prescribe" Them?


It’s hard to find a pharma or medical device company these days that doesn’t have at least one mobile app in development. And now that, as of February 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued guidance on which apps need to be regulated and which ones don’t, it will be interesting to see if this almost exponential development trend continues.

Federal guidance alone doesn’t guarantee an app’s success, and there is still plenty of playing field for developers in the health and wellness space for apps that do not require 510(k) submission. Therefore, developers and marketers alike must keep in mind these three key drivers of mobile health app adoption.


In a 2014 poll by QuantiaMD, only 37% of physicians surveyed said that they had recommended a mobile app to their patients. In another QuantiaMD poll, 42% of physicians said they would notrecommend a mobile health app to patients because there was no regulatory oversight (though the new FDA guidance should help with this). In addition, another 37% percent had no idea what mobile health apps are out there.

In spite of physicians being split on the utility of apps, consumers are downloading them at a rapid pace. In fact, it is estimated that within the next three years half of all smartphone and tablet users will have at least one mobile health or wellness app, like Lose It!, RunKeeper, or Glucose Buddy. But, downloading doesn’t necessarily mean they are using them! There is enormous opportunity for healthcare marketers to more effectively demonstrate the myriad of app benefits to patients and physicians alike.

More here...

Pharma Guy's curator insight, April 7, 7:19 AM

Experts say that the bulk of the apps recommended by physicians are related to diet and fitness, and that few physicians are “prescribing” apps with the expectation of receiving follow-up data. See here:

Marketing at 24 Frames per Second


Which of these factoids is not like the others?

By 2017 video will represent more than two-thirds of global consumer internet traffic.
65% of smartphone owners use their devices to watch mobile video. Of those, 84% watch video at least several times a week.
Video in emails nearly doubles click-thru rates and reduces opt-outs by 75%.
Customers who view videos are 85 to 144% more likely to purchase.
When asked what the most exciting 2014 marketing opportunity for their organization was, more than 2,000 company and agency executives surveyed by Adobe and Econsultancy ranked video last among nine possible choices.
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Engaging HCPs: Rep and a Hard Place


Technology has, quite clearly, transformed the role of the sales rep. But at the same time, predictions that the rep would go the way of the dodo bird have themselves been proved false.
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Pharma's Patient Communication Problems | HealthWorks Collective


One key problem for pharmaceutical companies trying to engage with patients: they don’t speak the same language.
Pharma Guy's curator insight, April 2, 6:54 AM

Paul offers this final bit of advice for pharma trying to "engage" patients at "every stage of pharmaceutical industry processes": "Just mind your language when you do so, or they might not understand a single word you say."

BTW, if you are not British, here's the definition of whinge: complain persistently and in a peevish or irritating way. Paul, of course, claims this is not a "whinge." OK, not technically speaking, but I like the word.

PR to Pharma: Up Your Dosage of Social Media


Many pharma companies remain concerned about running afoul of the regulators with their online activities and therefore have not yet fully embraced new channels. However, increasingly patients want and expect them to engage, and those that have are reaping the rewards.

An IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics report last year asked the provocative question, ‘Is healthcare ready for empowered and digitally demanding patients?’

Well, is it?

Consumers today are social beings. Research has found that the average American goes to the doctor three times a year, but spends 52 hours online searching for health information. They want this information fast and are willing to consult a wide array of sources, including friends and family, social media, news outlets, blogs, Wikipedia, pharma company websites, and everything in between.

Younger consumers, the most tech-savvy, are also “among the most health conscious of any age cohort” according to Lisa Stockman, president, global public relations and medical communications, inVentiv Health. That has implications for pharma. As Stockman says, “Consumer fascination in preventative health management tells us pharmaceutical companies must adopt new strategies.”

Out with the old, in with the new

Pharma companies have long relied on traditional public relations tactics to communicate with patients, including media outreach, partnerships with third-party patient advocacy groups, and event sponsorships. Although these tactics remain critical, they are no longer enough.

“The days when patients considered the ability to connect with you directly a ‘nice-to-have’ are gone”


Chris Iafolla, head of inVentiv Health PR Group’s digital and social strategy practice, relates that, “The days when patients considered the ability to connect with you directly a ‘nice-to-have’ are gone; they now expect it. The democratisation of media has made that possible. It is now possible to change the model from a one-way communication to a two-way dialogue and to involve your audience in a discussion.”

No room for inaction

So why have so few pharma companies broken through using social media? As a recent Forbes article observes, ‘among the 50 largest companies, half still do not use social media to engage consumers or patients,’ and only 10 of these 50 have made use of Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, the top three social media channels.

Clearly companies remain concerned about running afoul of US FDA regulators, and for that reason have not yet fully embraced new channels. When the FDA released long-awaited guidelines about the communication of health information via social media, it seemed to take a fairly restrictive stance, requiring that companies communicate information about risks and benefits in any social media message.

While staying within bounds remains a critical concern, it need not, should not, and in today’s environment, cannot prevent pharma companies from engaging deeply in social media. One recent Accenture study found that patients expect digital communication from pharma companies, seeking information around issues related to their treatment. Pharma needs to sustain more meaningful and more intimate conversations with patients and, in the case of younger patients in particular, needs to help satisfy patient yearnings to understand the companies behind the products they consume.

“Pharma companies must put aside their fears and develop a new strategy for engaging with patients”


Pharma companies must put aside their fears and develop a new strategy for engaging with patients. “Inaction is not the answer,” notes Tim Bird, CEO of Cooney Waters Unlimited. Social channels should be used to educate and empower patients and advocacy groups.

Laying the groundwork

Companies seeking to wade more deeply into social might begin by analysing how their existing social media presence stacks up against that of their closest competitors. As Helene Ellison, chair, global healthcare practice of Burson-Marsteller notes, “Competitive benchmarking helps make a case for certain social media platforms, but the real value comes when our research delivers insights that help us find social media strategies that can be integrated across marketing and communications.”

It’s also important to take the time to really understand the audience you’re targeting. JeanAnn Morgan, managing director at Burson-Marsteller, recounts how, in devising a programme to target patients with chronic disease, her client first spent time understanding “the triggers that drive better disease management and a therapy’s role in impacting a patient’s daily life”.

The communications team discovered that community played a greater role than was previously thought. Burson-Marsteller’s research found that 93 per cent of advocacy community members used the Internet for health information and disease management, while 71 per cent of patients were actively engaged on social media. With online community support, patients with this condition felt empowered to care for themselves more energetically. This and other insights led to an effective patient engagement programme that built community and enhanced awareness around the disease.

Likewise, JPA Health Communications partnered with the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) to enhance their digital content and boost online community offerings. Responding to numerous melanoma patients seeking information and peer support, JPA monitored the MRF’s website and social media analytics to deliver the ‘MRF community central’, a key portal for patients, caregivers, family and friends. Overall, the MRF’s redesigned website,, made information and support more accessible for melanoma patients. Patients responded enthusiastically, and traffic on saw a significant uptick.

Strategies for success

To excel at social media, create meaningful content that adds value and that can be shared and cited. Drive discussion and dialogue while always complying with government regulations. Provide targeted, channel-specific messaging to various audience segments and use visual communications like video and infographics wherever possible.

One successful ongoing campaign, Parkinson’s More Than Motion, is an interactive Facebook community campaign developed by Cooney Waters and its client UCB to reach people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers. This reality-style video and interactive content-rich series, now in its third year, informs patients about the importance of recognising and treating both the motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. More than 75,000 fans have watched these videos. Educational tools and ongoing content and communications keep them actively engaged and coming back for more.

In some sense, the communications challenges posed by social media are not new. The discipline of public relations has always focused on communicating messages through earned trust rather than paid messages. Likewise, the imperative to sustain honest, authentic conversations with consumers has always existed, irrespective of regulations. New social media technologies simply allow interactions to happen more fluidly and dynamically.

Don’t let fear of the unknown prevent you from meeting today’s patients where they are. They’re out there, waiting for a conversation. Are you up to the challenge?

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Building A Patient Advocacy, Diversity, And Engagement Focus At BMS - Life Science Leader Magazine


"When Lori Abrams was named director of advocacy, diversity, and patient engagement for Global Development Operations at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), she had no one to manage. In fact, her first assignment was to create the department she would oversee. “The first thing I realized was there didn’t seem to be many such departments for me to benchmark against,” she notes. “I went around to a lot of pharma companies trying to find someone to talk to, but an advocacy position focused on clinical trials just didn’t seem to exist.”"

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Satisfait ou remboursé : le nouveau credo des laboratoires pharmaceutiques #hcsmeufr #pharma


Le suisse Roche présente, jeudi, un programme de suivi des patientes atteintes d’un cancer du sein et soignées avec son Herceptin. A terme, il souhaite lier le prix de ses médicaments à leur efficacité.
Jerome Leleu's curator insight, April 3, 2:50 AM

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Pharmacie: les laboratoires spécialisés montent en puissance


INFOGRAPHIE - Des laboratoires spécialisés comme Gilead, le fabricant du traitement vedette de l'hépatite C, ont fait leur apparition l'an dernier dans le classement des plus grands groupes pharmaceutiques mondiaux.
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What Are Doctors Doing on Computers?


Beyond access the Internet and email, what tasks are doctors performing on their computers for work reasons? 85% of doctors use computers to research general medical issues or specific clinical situations, according to the most recent Sources & Interactions Study, (September 2014): Medical/Surgical Edition. Further, 82% of surveyed physicians use their computers to access/maintain medical records, 71% use them for professional news updates and 71% use them for meetings/conference information. Although smartphones are becoming more prevalent in the workplace, doctors continue to be more likely to use their computers for all the tasks that we currently study.

The closest comparison would be finding/performing clinical calculations and peer-to-peer social networking. 57% of doctors use computers to finding/performing clinical calculations and 44% use smartphones. 38% use computers for peer-to-peer social networking while 23% use smartphones. The Sources & Interactions™ Study is a detailed examination of doctors’ online and mobile activities, e-detailing experience, and exposure to (and evaluation of) information sources including traditional and emerging media, pharma reps, CME, convention and more.

The study is conducted every six months and targets more than 3,000 physicians annually across 22 specialties, exploring their media preferences and habits. Sources & Interactions was designed to help marketers and their agencies cost-effectively allocate resources to their overall promotional mix, and provide publishers with specific insight about where their offerings fit into physicians (and other healthcare professionals’) information inventory. New data will be available very soon. To find out more about the study and get access to specialty-specific data, contact us now. We study physician media behaviors and preferences annually across 22 specialties.

- See more at:

Jennifer Grech's curator insight, April 7, 5:54 AM

Interesting space to watch and updated every 6 months.