Click here to learn about Sponsorship Opportunities

Subscribe This article will be published on or about 8-June-2011. To get it FREE as soon as it is published, subscribe to Pharma Marketing News now!

A Record of Social Media Events Impacting the Pharmaceutical Industry

Pharmaguy SM TimelineThe pharmaceutical industry is at a turning point in its adoption of new social media tools and applications for communication with healthcare professionals, consumers, patients, policymakers, and payers. Practically every pharmaceutical company has launched a social media project or application of one sort or another (see the “Pharma and Healthcare Social Media Wiki” for an up-to-date list). To be sure, not all these efforts take full advantage of social media tools, most notably the ability to have two-way conversations. For that to happen, says the industry, FDA guidance is needed.

Yet, the long-awaited social media guidance from the FDA — whenever it arrives — may turn out to be nothing more than a stamp of approval on activities in which the industry is currently engaged. Practically every issue that FDA guidance is expected to address has already been handled independently by a few pioneering pharmaceutical companies. Rather than waiting for FDA’s anti climatic guidelines, Pharmaguy decided to publish The Pharmaguy Social Media Timeline™ now, at a time when the industry already has set precedents in every social media application.

Entries in The Pharmaguy Social Media Timeline were chosen by Pharmaguy (@pharmaguy on Twitter, aka John Mack, Publisher of Pharma Marketing News and author of this article) to represent what he considers to be important or memorable events that had an impact on the use of social media by the global pharmaceutical industry. The focus is mainly on uses of social media for commercial purposes, ie, sales and marketing and on “first” or precedent-setting events.

Entries include a date, an event category, an event title, a brief description of the event, comments from Pharmaguy and other experts, and links to more information on Pharma Marketing Blog and elsewhere. Of course, no timeline would be complete without images and Pharmaguy included several of the best in his Timeline.

Unless we expect a social media Judgment Day when the “true believers” will experience the “rapture” and rise to pharma social media “heaven,” The Pharmaguy Social Media Timeline will never have a well-defined endpoint. Consequently, updates will have to be made from time to time.

Topic headings include:

  • Social Media Defined
  • A Little History of Social Media
  • What’s Included in the Timeline
  • When is an App a Medical Device?
  • The Pharmaguy Social Media Timeline

Sample Entry DateCategoryEvent1-Apr-06Discussion BoardFirst pharmaceutical website that includes a discussion board

Question Everything

Launched by GSK, allowed consumers to ask questions and have an online conversation among themselves and with experts. GSK said the purpose of the site was to offer peer support and professional advice to dieters and to “dispel the many myths about dieting, exercise and fraudulent weight loss products.” The site collected personal information of registered users and was set up prior to FDA approval of Alli, GSK’s over-the-counter (OTC) diet pill, and was a prelude to the AlliConnect blog, the first pharma OTC product blog. Pharmaguy said, “ is one of those stealthy sites that will never compete with true ‘consumer-generated sites.'”

See “Question Everything” (

Issue: Vol. 10, No. 10
Publication date: 8 June 2011
Word Count: OVER 8000