The FDA issued a warning letter to a pharmaceutical company after Kim Kardashian posted a promotional selfie with one of its drugs.
Social Media, Mobile, Wearable News & Views
What's going on in the world of pharma social media, mobile apps, mHealth, and wearable technology
Curated by Pharma Guy
Despite R&D-focused pharmaceutical executives recognizing digital as the primary driver to be more patient-outcome focused, only half of them are currently adopting digital, according to a new report from Accenture.
When asked to identify the areas in which digital technologies will have the greatest impact on the industry, executives cited “transforming their R&D model to become more patient-focused” more often than any other area (29 percent), ahead of “improving R&D productivity through digitized processes” (22 percent); “enhancing quality and compliance to meet changing regulatory requirements” (18 percent); and “cost reduction in R&D to improve productivity” (12 percent), among other areas.
However, 42 percent of respondents said they are still “exploring” how digital might improve their organizations, with another three percent saying they are still “waiting and seeing” how digital is deployed before developing their own digital capabilities.
“R&D pharma executives clearly believe that digital can help them accomplish their goal of improving patient outcomes,” said Kevin Julian, managing director of Accelerated R&D Services, Accenture Life Sciences. “Companies that are slow to embrace digital may run the risk of conceding competitive position, profit margin and even customer loyalty.”
While all but one (99 percent) of the executives surveyed said that increasing focus on patient outcomes is a “critical” or “very important” priority, four in 10 respondents (39 percent) said that focusing more on patient outcomes was already a key priority of their R&D organizations, and half (49 percent) said that it should be the top priority by 2020.
In the report, Accenture suggests that, to capture the benefits of digital technologies, R&D pharmaceutical leaders should foster a more digital culture and mindset by investing in or leveraging existing digital capabilities in R&D. This could range from data analytic skills and working with Real World Evidence platforms to social media engagement.
More recommendations can be found here.
Today, Senators Burr and Feinstein released a draft bill requiring tech companies to create a government backdoor to every secure application or connected device.
“The Burr-Feinstein bill makes broad, worrisome presumptions about the tech industry,” said Morgan Reed, executive director of ACT | The App Association. “The proposed legislation would be ineffective in reaching its goals, and instead turn app distribution platforms into choke points for the successful mobile app ecosystem that Americans depend on every day.
“We cannot continue to see growth and innovation if distributors must make sure every app can be cracked by the government. This is a nonstarter. Solutions to this problem can be met by improving the tools law enforcement has to effectively use the enormous amounts of data made available to them every day.
“Additionally, the compensation mechanisms in this bill do not adequately represent the innovation economy where people don’t work for hourly wages, but on the hope to create a product that changes the world.”
"History shows any backdoor engineered into a secure system inevitably opens up troves of sensitive information to criminals," Reed said "In the health context, this would lead to private health data and financial information being sold on the black market. The proposed bill not only requires app makers to build backdoors into their products, but it also forces platforms to 'ensure' every app they sell has a backdoor."
Reed added that such a move would "turn software distribution companies into the police, undermining the trust and security that is essential to protecting health records."
Over the years I have tried to determine what portion of pharma's total marketing budget is devoted to digital and if that portion is increasing (see here, for example). Various sources look at various channels and it's not easy to compare one source with another. Even data from the same source may not compare apples to apples.
Last month, for example, one pharma trade publication claimed that data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau showed that the pharma industry's digital ad spending in 2015 was "about $3 billion." But the data really applied to "Pharma and Healthcare," which includes "personal care, toiletries, and cosmetic products", etc. Since the latter product categories may be responsible for 50% of the $3 billion, I estimated the pharma Rx drug-specific digital ad spending was more like $1.5 billion, excluding search advertising (see "Did Pharma Really Spend $3 Billion on Internet Advertising in 2015?").
I just came across some data from eMarketer, which seems to verify my estimate. But what forms of advertising are actually included in eMarketer's estimate? Read more here.
Allergan today launched IBSDonTract.com, an online resource for those living with irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D). IBS-D, which affects approximately 15 million adults in the U.S., is a functional bowel disorder commonly characterized by chronic abdominal pain and frequent diarrhea. The new website is a part of Allergan's continued efforts to help educate the public and patients about IBS-D, and includes key information about symptoms, condition management and tips on speaking with a healthcare provider about IBS-D.
"IBS-D can have a significant impact on patients' daily lives – but in many cases, due to embarrassment or uncertainty about symptoms, patients wait years before seeing a doctor," said Gavin Corcoran, MD, FACP, Chief Medical Officer, Allergan. "IBSDonTract.com is an important resource for patients seeking to better understand the condition and their options. It also helps to explain why talking to their healthcare provider sooner rather than later is critically important, in order to shorten the time between symptom onset and effective disease management."
IBSDonTract.com features information that can help patients have a more productive conversation with their healthcare provider, including resources such as a symptom tracker, self-assessment tool and doctor discussion guide.
For more information about IBS-D and tools for management and treatment, please visit https://www.IBSDonTract.com/.
I'll have to check out the "symptom checker." I've never met one that didn't tell me I might have the condition (read, for example, "How Virtually Anyone Can Get an Rx for Amphetamine"; http://bit.ly/BEDchecklist). Meanwhile, I only hope the site has proper bathroom gas venting!
Shire has kicked off a disease awareness campaign for a set of rare genetic diseases that sees participants create and launch digital 'paper planes'.
The #FlyForMPS campaign aims to raise the profile of MPS (mucopolysaccharide) diseases - the seven varieties of which include Hunter syndrome (MPS II) and Morquio syndrome (MPS IV A,B).
Partnering with the International MPS Network and the UK's MPS Society, Shire's www.MPSDay.com site allows visitors to create digital versions of paper planes that can be shared via email and social media.
Launched last week to coincided with MPS Day, the campaign also utilised 'crowdspeaking' platform Thunderclap to send a timed social media post from its supporters and create a wave of attention.
Thunderclap has been gaining attention from pharma over the last couple of years, and has been used by firms such as Boehringer Ingelheim in atrial fibrillation and Novartis in vision loss and urticaria.
Another example of pharma use of Thunderclap: “Boehringer UK Used Thunderclap to Reach Larger Twitter Community for #COUGH Chat”; http://sco.lt/8sJXuL
I always try to stay ahead of pharma on social media, but I think getting involved with Thunderclap may be a step too far for me. What do you think?
This week media carried reports that Twitter was going to making a shift in policy regarding space. Until now, you have been limited to 140 characters in your tweeting which included space for your – albeit tiny – URL and/or a photograph. That meant sending a tweet with a photograph embedded or a URL included ate up some of your 140 character limitation. But in the near future, that apparently will not be so.
URLs, while not a requirement for a tweet, are practically essential from a consumer point of view. Social media, after all, is about engagement and a tweet that does not drive traffic somewhere – or give people something to share – is someone just talking about themselves. And we’ve all been onthat date. Ultimately, it isn’t very interesting. Driving traffic – back to a website or a blog posting or any other platform – is really a key function of Twitter.
Photos are, of course, are not required, but similarly make a Tweet more interesting and there has been ample commentary that use of photos drives engagement with a tweet, outpacing engagement in the mere text tweeting.
So how much space are we actually talking about saving now that photos and URLs are not eating up our 140 characters? The answer depends on whether or not you are using both, or just one. In the case of using either a photo or a URL, you are eating up about 22 characters – or about 16 percent of your Tweet. If you are using both a photo and a URL in your tweet, you are of course then saving 32 percent of your tweet.
Does that make a difference for use of Twitter by pharma? The answer is yes and no. More...
Designed by Alzheimer's Australia, a wing of Alzheimer's Disease International, The Dementia-Friendly Home is a simple interactive app that guides users through 10 interior design principles that make life easier for people with dementia or Alzheimer's. It works by providing a relatively life-like virtual house to explore; question marks on the floors, ceilings, walls, and household objects indicate interior design choices that can be made, while navigation through the house is accomplished by tapping on a simple floor plan at the bottom left-hand corner. The app is meant to educate caregivers on relatively simple improvements they can make to a home to make it safer, more comfortable, and more grounding to patients with Alzheimer's. From a non-caregiver perspective, what's interesting about The Dementia-Friendly Home is where the design principles it espouses for those with dementia intersect with regular good design practice.
[A] lot of the interior decorating in the app is done to create unobtrusive areas of high-contrast calmness: white rooms with darker rugs and accents that clearly establish the mood and geometry of any space, supporting movement and making any given room more engaging. The app focuses strongly on tidying up, reducing visual clutter, and tastefully placing objects that provide joy and happy memories throughout the space. Marie Kondo would approve.
It sounds like interior design 101, but that's the point. Only on issues of safety and memory does The Dementia-Friendly Home's design principles look completely alien. Few of us, for example, would opt to install handlebars near the toilet, label our cupboards with pictures of what's inside of them, or replace our light switches with flippers that say "ON" and "OFF" in giant, neon green-and-red letters. But for the most part, what The Dementia-Friendly Home proves is that good interior design is the same whether or not you're a twenty-something in a Manhattan micro-apartment or a caregiver for an Alzheimer's patient in a ranch in Nebraska.
Background: As social media becomes increasingly popular online venues for engaging in communication about public health issues, it is important to understand how users promote knowledge and awareness about specific topics.
Objective: The aim of this study is to examine the frequency of discussion and differences by race and ethnicity of cancer-related topics among unique users via Twitter.
Methods: Tweets were collected from April 1, 2014 through January 21, 2015 using the Twitter public streaming Application Programming Interface (API) to collect 1% of public tweets. Twitter users were classified into racial and ethnic groups using a new text mining approach applied to English-only tweets. Each ethnic group was then analyzed for frequency in cancer-related terms within user timelines, investigated for changes over time and across groups, and measured for statistical significance.
Results: Observable usage patterns of the terms "cancer", "breast cancer", "prostate cancer", and "lung cancer" between Caucasian and African American groups were evident across the study period. We observed some variation in the frequency of term usage during months known to be labeled as cancer awareness months, particularly September, October, and November. Interestingly, we found that of the terms studied, "colorectal cancer" received the least Twitter attention.
Conclusions: The findings of the study provide evidence that social media can serve as a very powerful and important tool in implementing and disseminating critical prevention, screening, and treatment messages to the community in real-time. The study also introduced and tested a new methodology of identifying race and ethnicity among users of the social media. Study findings highlight the potential benefits of social media as a tool in reducing racial and ethnic disparities.
Also read: "#BCSM Twitter Chat is an Effective Tool for Breast Cancer Patient Education & Support"; sco.lt/8gZy1B
Using digital health tools in primary care could save the US healthcare system $10 billion annually, according to Accenture. But nearly half (46%) of Americans who use digital health tools say the data collected by these tools is not incorporated into their healthcare. Despite the growing adoption of activity trackers, smart watches, health applications and other internet-connected health technologies, 42% of digital health users say the data gathered by these tools goes nowhere. The findings are based on a survey of 500 people who use digital health tools.
In order for a company to have an effective social media presence it must know where the relevant conversations are taking place, the style of messaging that resonates among the participants, and most importantly who the influencers are within those networks of individuals. The PM Society used the Healthcare Social Graph® algorithm to determine weather a company was able to reach their audience from engaging key opinion leaders and their spheres of influence.
The five companies shortlisted for the award were AbbVie, Bayer, Boehringer, Novartis and Pfizer. Symplur partner Josh Lurie was there in London to present the award to the winner. But before we get to the winner, let’s walk through how we computed the data.
From the 606 million healthcare tweets collected during 2015 we analyzed the conversations around the top 10 diseases with the highest mortality rates in the U.K.; Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Stroke, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, COPD, Heart disease/failure, Lymphoma, Bowel Cancer and Pneumonia.
From the millions of tweets that were analyzed in the 10 disease areas selected, the algorithm ultimately found one company above the others and that was Boehringer. Congratulations to all those individuals who contributed to Boehringer’s result!
Last year I complained that the criteria for this award was not very transparent. I asked: What websites and digital tools are they talking about? Why are they of high quality? This year they say:
The algorithm solves the weaknesses found in the simplistic metrics that are too easily manipulated such as number of mentions, tweets, and followers etc.
Given how this algorithm was designed there are some practical consequences for how influence is measured:
Deutsche Telekom has launched a mobile game, called Sea Hero Quest, designed to help researchers improve their understanding of spacial navigation. The app was built in partnership with Alzheimer’s Research UK, a charity, University College London, the University of East Anglia, and game developers Glitchers.
A loss of spacial navigation is one of the first symptoms of dementia, but according to Deutsche Telekom, researchers are unable to differentiate when people are getting lost because it’s an early symptom of the disease, or they are getting lost as a result of natural aging. The app developers aim to use this game to create a benchmark for spacial navigation.
“We knew that there must be a way of empowering everyone to share their time to help to move us one step closer to a breakthrough in the field of dementia,” Deutsche Telekom Chief Brand Officer Hans-Christian Schwingen said in a statement. “At the same time, we realized that if we wanted to achieve real scale and truly make a difference, we needed to make it fun for everyone involved. We needed to create something that would get people gaming for good."
The Sea Hero Quest game, which is available for iOS and Android devices, guides users through mazes, including arctic rivers, golden shores, and mystic marshes. Users collect their memories in a journal, chase magical creatures, and collect starfish that they can trade in for equipment improvements.
Hmmm... I doubt it.
There’s no question that IoT is ushering in a new era of innovation, connecting the digital and machine worlds to bring greater speed and efficiency to diverse sectors, including automotive, aviation, energy and healthcare. But with sensitive data increasingly accessible online — and more endpoints open to attackers — businesses are quickly realizing that security cannot be an afterthought.
The bad news is that they’re relying on the same solutions that have failed in the past — and which continue to fail. Created four decades ago to secure communications between two human parties, Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) was never designed to handle the complexity of managing 50 billion devices on industrial-scale networks.
McKinsey estimates that the cost of ineffective cybersecurity will rise to $3 trillion by 2020. Given that the number of connected devices is predicted to reach 20.8 billion by 2020, there’s an urgent need to fundamentally rethink security for an always connected, high-volume, decentralized world of machines.
Related: "IoT Bill of Rights Proposed. Who Should Own the Data? What About Security?" http://sco.lt/8zUht3
The increasing collecting of personal health data is colliding with the theft of that data..and the Internet of Things magnifies the whole Big Personal Data challenge. Frankly, we cannot just stand by…we need an IoT Bill of Rights.
The major companies making connected devices should ensure this by agreeing to an “Internet of Things bill of rights.” There are a few core principles:
What about secutity issues? Read "Pharma is Collecting Personal Health Data via Wearables - A Data Security Issue?"; http://sco.lt/5dGVCz
The leading reason why companies don’t invest more money in digital marketing is a generally restricted budget for all types of marketing, per a recent report [download page] from Econsultancy and Oracle Marketing Cloud. But beyond that primary hindrance, staff constraints, company culture and an inability to measure ROI are all cited as factors, and the report wonders if the “culture of ROI is stifling innovation.”
Indeed, as the analysts note, “without the ability to measure channels, ROI cannot be proved to management, and without proof, decision makers are unlikely to increase budgets.”
So which digital channels do marketers feel most confident in measuring? The survey of almost 500 client-side marketers and agency respondents, primarily from the UK (55%) and other European countries (18%) provides some insights.
As it turns out, there’s only one channel in which at least half of the company respondents feel “good” about their ability to measure ROI: paid search (50% rating as “good”). Email marketing for acquisition (48%) and for engagement/retention (45%) come close in ROI confidence, though only a minority of company respondents rate their ROI measurement capabilities as “good” in these areas.
With it’s massive growth, proliferation on difficult-to-control social media platforms, and the oftentimes contradictory language from influencer marketers themselves, influencer marketing has become something of a wild west—something that, if influencers and marketers aren’t careful, could end up hurting the longterm prospects of the industry as a whole.
The practice is another form of native advertising, except it relies on social media influencers rather than in-house advertorial. Native advertising on publisher sites has come under fire for sometimes deceiving and confusing readers. Our 2015 study, showed that 48 percent of respondents felt deceived by native advertising.
So far, influencer marketing has escaped much of the same criticism.
In December, the FTC finally released an updated version of guidelines for native advertising, asking publishers to include a variation of “Ad,” “Advertisement,” “Paid Advertisement,” or “Sponsored Advertising Content” in the beginning of an article or video. Most framed the guidelines as an attempt to reign in native advertising on digital publications. (The FTC’s use of “native advertising” as an umbrella term for any sort of promotional material that’s not a traditional ad probably didn’t help.)
In a Digiday article, Todd Krizelman, co-founder and CEO of MediaRadar, an ad data firm, estimated that only 30 percent of publishers were in compliance with the rules and that 26 percent do not disclose at all.
But few considered the ramifications of the new guidelines on influencer marketing, which is subject to the same rules.
“They are looking for very explicit call-outs,” Krizelman said. “They want to see the words ‘This is an ad’ or ‘Paid advertisement.’ They do not want to see things like, ‘Presented by.’ Today, if Kim Kardashian is posting [an ad], she may just post it. No one would know if she was paid or not paid.”
“The FTC and other regulatory authorities are very concerned about influencer and native advertising,” said Andrew Lustigman, an attorney at Olshan Frome Wolosky who specializes in advertising and marketing. “Because the message is now coming from a third party, regulators want to make sure that consumers know that there is business relationship between the parties so that they can evaluate the message with that in mind.”
Unfortunately, this is anything but standard practice.
When you browse influencer marketing best practices, “trust” and “authenticity,” are two words that constantly appear. A February 2016 study by eMarketer suggested that influencer marketing has become more popular, in part, because of young people’s trust in social media stars, who they tend to see as more authentic than a brand or an advertisement.
“The key word that I’m coming back to in everything I talk about with influencers is authenticity,” said Todd Cameron, head of content and strategy at influencer marketing software company TapInfluence.
Trustworthy influencer marketing is only possible when social influencers disclose, boldly and proudly, that what they’re doing is a paid advertisement. If the brand or the influencer try to hide this fact, they risk undermining consumer trust for both parties.
Even if influencers and marketers continue to deceive consumers, there’s little doubt that more regulation—and better clarified regulation—from the FTC is coming.
Akili Interactive Labs will soon launch a clinical trial, called STARS-ADHD, that will evaluate the efficacy of its video game intervention for children with ADHD. The company plans to enroll a minimum of 300 children aged 8 to 12 years for its double-blind, randomized, controlled trial.
“Project: EVO has shown early promise to help improve attention and neurocognition in cognitive disorders like ADHD,” STARS-ADHD Principal Investigator Scott Kollins, who is a professor of psychiatry and the director of the ADHD Program at Duke University School of Medicine, said in a statement. “We look forward to enrolling patients and advancing the study and validation of this potential new treatment option for young patients with ADHD.”
Akili’s offering, a video game called Project: Evo, is based on research from UCSF. The game is designed to treat cognitive conditions. To play it, a user navigates an alien avatar, chosen specifically because it is culture-neutral but also relatable, down a course by tilting a mobile device back and forth. While navigating the alien, the user must also respond to targets by tapping the screen. The app keeps track of movements and can therefore monitor the user’s behavior and quickly adapt to the player.
If the STARS-ADHD trial, which has been in piloting phase since November, meets certain goals, the company will submit an application for an FDA clearance.
Will the FDA approve a video game as an effective treatment for a medical condition? Even if it is approved, will health insurers/patients pay for a game treatment after being conditioned all these years to think only of drugs as treatments? Will physicians prescribe the game to their patients? That would require overturning the entire drug-physician industrial complex! For more on that, read this 2012 Pharma Marketing Blog post: "The Next New Drug: An FDA-Approved Video Game"; http://bit.ly/1NnYuDf
I [Bob Ehrlich, Chairman of DTC Perspectives] wanted to explain why after 16 years of developing conferences we decided to run one solely on tv and print this fall. It seems odd that the media with the most spending seems to get the least discussion on the agenda. Our DTC National offers a wide array of topics but most are in new media. I always ask people to submit speaking proposals on television and print but few are received. While drug marketers are anxious to learn the latest on new media, there is a lot that can be improved in the meat and potatoes category.
Most of our speakers are on digital, big data, patient relationships, point of care, and technology. While this may be the DTC future, the overwhelming media allocation remains in television and print. After 20 years maybe there is not much left to learn in mass media. I kind of doubt that.
My guess is every media plan can be 10-20% more effective with some simple tweaks. Better creative, more pre-testing, more targeted media planning, and more robust evaluation are all possible and affordable. In 20 years of being involved in DTC I have seen many campaigns that I know are weak, yet somehow they made it on air. Mediocre ads get through for many reasons. It can be bad copy strategy, testing the wrong objectives, rushed creative, forgetting the competitive set, group think, overloading information, or many other factors. Sometimes there is so much testing that the marketers are overwhelmed and miss the need to simplify for consumers.
So in October we will do an entire conference that never mentions social media, mobile, relationship marketing, or personal fitness devices. Instead we will focus on making our tv and print ads better, spending more effectively, and doing better analysis. I am not pushing mass media over new media, just recognizing that if more than 80% of our budget is spent there, we might as well strive to do it better.
Bob has a point! TV is the new media for pharmaceutical direct-to-consumer advertising!
A smartphone app that tracks palpitations in heart patients provides comparable performance to the 14-day event monitors that are the current standard of care, according to a University at Buffalo study presented May 4th at the annual Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) meeting in San Francisco.
Throughout the two-week study, 32 patients who had had some symptoms of cardiac arrhythmias, were required to use both methods to record when they were having palpitations.
The UB researchers found that the AliveCor Heart Monitor smartphone app correctly recorded 91 percent of total arrhythmic events experienced by patients versus 87.5 percent recorded by the event monitors.
Patients were far more likely to be compliant with the smartphone app, the study found, with 94 percent of patients complying with the smartphone app versus just 58 percent with the event monitor.
"The event monitors require electrocardiographic electrodes to be attached to the patient's skin, which can be irritating," she said. "Then the patient has to wear the device that is attached to the electrodes, which is somewhat cumbersome, and most patients do not like to wear it in public. Hence, compliance is often poor."
With the event monitor, a patient experiencing palpitations must press a button to note they are having symptoms and then indicate what type of symptom it is either on a paper log or by inputting the information onto the monitor.
With the smartphone app, the patient experiencing palpitations puts a finger from each hand onto the surface of an electrode attached to a smartphone case. The data can then be uploaded to the AliveCor server through a secure, HIPAA-compliant transmission.
Nearly all social media marketers worldwide believe Facebook produces the best ROI and is essential to social media marketing success, a March 2016 survey revealed.
Social Fresh, Firebrand Group and Simply Measured surveyed 551 social media marketers worldwide and asked them to choose up to three social media platforms that they thought produced the best ROI. Almost all (95.8%) of social media marketers worldwide said Facebook did.
Additionally, nearly two-thirds (63.5%) of respondents said Twitter produced the best ROI, and 40.1% of social media marketers said Instagram did.
Surprisingly, only 2.1% of social media marketers said Snapchat produced the best ROI.
In addition, mobile will account for 82.0% of Facebook’s US digital ad revenue this year, eMarketer estimes. Ad revenues generated by Instagram and mobile video formats on Facebook will drive this growth. This year, Instagram is expected to earn $1.30 billion in the US ($1.53 billion worldwide) in mobile ad revenues. In the US, Instagram will represent 15.4% of Facebook’s total mobile ad revenues.
In the evolution of computing, from the desktop computer to the smartphone to the watch, it seemed like just a matter of time before the technology would come to be swallowable — and now it is.
The innovation at the heart of it is an FDA-approved ingestible sensor housed in pills, designed to help patients adhere to the medications their doctors prescribe. Except the sensor isn't powered by a battery, it's powered by the gut of the patient swallowing it, using technology discovered two centuries ago.
"We have a small, food-particle-sized piece of silicon, an integrated circuit, and on one side of that circuit is a film of copper, on the other side a very thin film of magnesium," explained Proteus Digital Health co-founder Dr. George Savage. "When you swallow, these minerals get wet and two dissimilar metals in aqueous contact define a battery, so you become a battery." From there, the powered pill sensor sends a signal to a patch worn on the body, which sends data via Bluetooth to a phone or tablet and on to the cloud for a doctor or caregiver.