Pharma companies are coming around on social media, however slowly. But how many are actually listening to what their patients say on social media platforms--and doing something with the feedback they get?
According to Siva Nadarajah, IMS Health's general manager of big data and compliance, too few. Only about 8% of 9% of all global brands--not companies--are engaging with patients. About 50% of them are monitoring patients' mentions, but 42% are doing nothing about it. And 40% aren't listening at all.
Why are pharma brand managers so hesitant to listen up? Some say they "don't know what actions they could take with the data," Nadarajah said. Others do know, but they don't have the engagement channels in place to help them take the next step. Some of them fall back on regulations, saying "'I don't want to deal with adverse events. It's a burden,'" he pointed out.
The way Michele Bennett, senior director of data science and analysis at Thomson Reuters, sees it, social media also represents an uncomfortable change for pharma. The industry is "used to being in control, driving the message, driving how they want their products to be perceived, within label. Social media takes the message over. You get no control," she said.