Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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Patient Testimonials aka Anecdotal Experience #Pharma Marketing

Patient Testimonials aka Anecdotal Experience #Pharma Marketing | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

People like to get information from people they trust. Moreover, a hallmark of digital communications has been a turning away from large, institutionalized sources for information and turning instead to hear from individuals.

There appears to be good reason for the use of testimonials by patients when seeking to promote a medical product. A patient like me who has faced what I faced and now has been through the experience tells me what it is like, and I may take great stock in what they say.

But while it may make sense, there may be inherent regulatory risks in going down that path – risks that are peculiar to use of testimonials. Why?

Part of the appeal in having a patient describe their experience using a medical product is that they provide a real, first-person description of how the product worked for them and the difference it made for them with respect to their condition. That is also the drawback.

I was able to identify 12 instances in which FDA sent a letter regarding a communication that involved a patient testimonial – in 3 of those instances the patient was also a celebrity spokesperson.

When it comes specifically to patient testimonials, the most common violation was the overstatement of efficacy, involving 11 of the 12 letters.

The basis for that is likely that when a person describes in subjective terms their experience with a medication, it usually includes a reference to the impact the use had on their lives. Phrases such as it “literally changed my life” and “restored my confidence” or describing in personal terms the use of the medication for which evidence does not exist to demonstrate that everyone would have such an experience.

Almost all of the communications vehicles involved video, but it also involved some print.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Pharma marketers are capitalizing on the e-Patient movement by leveraging social media, online video, and real patient stories in an effort to become more "patient centric" (see, for example, "Patient Story-telling Marketing"). Add a celebrity spokesperson who is also a patient or a caretaker of a patient and you've got gold!

But in some cases, this practice may be going too far. Can anecdotal "evidence"/experiences mentioned in patient videos -- even unbranded videos -- cause unnecessary visits to the doctor's office and over prescribing of drugs with serious side effects? For more on that, read "Are Patient Stories Becoming Anecdotal 'Evidence' in Pharma Marketing Campaigns?"; http://bit.ly/patstorymkting 

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Pharma Guy's curator insight, March 28, 2016 8:09 AM

Pharma marketers are capitalizing on the e-Patient movement by leveraging social media, online video, and real patient stories in an effort to become more "patient centric" (see, for example, "Patient Story-telling Marketing"). Add a celebrity spokesperson who is also a patient or a caretaker of a patient and you've got gold!

But in some cases, this practice may be going too far. Can anecdotal "evidence"/experiences mentioned in patient videos -- even unbranded videos -- cause unnecessary visits to the doctor's office and over prescribing of drugs with serious side effects? For more on that, read "Are Patient Stories Becoming Anecdotal 'Evidence' in Pharma Marketing Campaigns?"; http://bit.ly/patstorymkting 

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Article: Online e-Patient & Celebrity Patient Video Testimonials: Anecdotal Experience Marketing

Article: Online e-Patient & Celebrity Patient Video Testimonials: Anecdotal Experience Marketing | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
This article asks the question: Can anecdotal 'evidence'/experiences mentioned in patient videos -- even unbranded videos -- cause unnecessary visits to the doctor's office and over prescribing of drugs with serious side effects?
Pharma Guy's insight:


Topics include (partial list):

  • Real Stories from Real Moms & Daughters
  • Symptoms & Undocumented Anecdotal Evidence
  • The Selling of ADHD and Ethics of Disease Awareness Advertising
  • Persuasive Celebrity Patient Video Testimonials
  • Overstating Efficacy
  • Declaration of Health Data Rights
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The Patient Narrative as a Means of Enhancing Clinical Outcomes and Care

The Patient Narrative as a Means of Enhancing Clinical Outcomes and Care | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

How listening to patient narrative improves clinical care


We live in an unprecedented time when patients are more visible than ever. Not only do patients lead health organizations and research institutions, but there is also increasing transparency about patient experience of healthcare throughout the country. In this video series Patient MADE VISIBLE, Annie Levy and her Made Visible team are taking care and compassion to foster more dialogue between patient and physician through narrative.


This video is an interview with Matthew Zachary, founder and CEO of Stupid Cancer, a patient advocacy group for teens and young cancer survivors. Zachary was diagnosed with childhood brain cancer in 1995 when he was 21.


We love narrative. It is through hearing/seeing that story that we connect with a person, especially if their journey reflects pieces of our own. The narrative allows us to connect not simply with the facts of the case, but the emotion that drives both.


Multiple studies have also looked at the role of the patient narrative as a means ofenhancing clinical outcomes and care. In most studies this has been done by putting a video camera in the hands of our patients and feeding that information back to our clinicians.

Pharma Guy's insight:


I've written about patient narratives/stories and the power of video from a pharma marketing persecutive. Read, for example, Online e-Patient & Celebrity Patient Video Testimonials.


Of course, effective patient narratives must be authentic. Read, for example, Fictional Patient Story Wins Gold, Whereas Authentic Patient Story Wins Bronze at Lions Health 2014.


One very important issue is transparency, especially when marketers are involve. Read Patient Centricity, Transparency, & Pharma's Reputation.


Finally, listen to this Pharmaguy interview of Dave Duplay, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at healtheo360, about the effects on patients of sharing their stories through self-generated videos and participation in Virtual Social Therapy® via the healtheo360 community.


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