Vol. 8, No. 8: September 2009 – EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Welcome to the SEPTEMBER 2009 issue of Pharma Marketing News. This is the Executive Summary version. See Article Summaries below.

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John Mack, Publisher & Editor
Pharma Marketing News


FDA Social Media Questionnaire
Comment Upon Questions from FDA Regarding Social Media

The FDA is requesting the public to submit comments to a series of specific questions, which are included in this survey/comment form. This survey includes the following sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Questions About You (affiliation, support of industry, etc.)
  3. Issue 1: Accountability
  4. Issue 2: Fulfilling Regulatory Requirements
  5. Issue 3: Posting Corrective Information
  6. Issue 4: Links
  7. Issue 5: Adverse Event Reporting
  8. Opt In Choice
  9. Thank You and Summary of Results

Many questions are pre-programmed with answers that you can select. As the survey progresses, other choices may be added to the list of answers. These additional choices will come from reviewing comments made to each question. It is important, therefore, that you include comments with any additional choices.

It is hoped that by participating in this survey you will learn more about the issues and use what you learn to submit official comments to the FDA.

Please take 2 minutes to answer this questionnaire regarding FDA’s regulation of Rx promotion via the Internet and social media.

Take the survey here.

You will be able to see a summary of up-to-date de-identified results upon completion of the survey.

Your comments areconfidential (anonymous) unless you specifically provide your contactinformation at the end of the survey and allow us to attribute commentsto you personally.

Article Summaries

Up Front
Let’s Respond to FDA’s Questions Regarding Its Regulation of Social Media

Flying PigsWhatta ya know! Pigs can fly!

On Monday, September 21, 2009, the FDA published a notice in the Federal Register calling for a public hearing on the Promotion of Food and Drug Administration-Regulated Medical Products Using the Internet and Social Media Tools.

I issued a petition calling upon the FDA to convene such a hearing back in April, 2009. At last my dream has come true!

The FDA is requesting the public to submit comments to a series of specific questions, which are included in a new survey created by Pharma Marketing Network/News. Let’s use this survey to help educate the FDA on the issues.

Download this article and read the details here:

What If There Were No Rules in Pharma Marketing?Be Sure Not to Cut Off the Ends of Your Ham

Ham“Sometimes the biggest inhibitor of the innovation process is ourselves,” says author and blogger Jonathan Richman. Sometimes it’s external forces (regulations, guidelines, naysayers). Still other times it’s our interpretation of the external forces. This last one is perhaps the most menacing.

External forces include pesky things called laws that always seem to make it all a bit more complicated for pharmaceutical marketers. Like laws, rules and regulations, such as those from the FDA, often dictate what we can and can’t do. Most of us know the rules and are forced to live under them.

What If There Were No Rules in Pharma Marketing? There’s no FDA, no DDMAC, no FTC. Your company guidelines and rules don’t exist and your regulatory and legal teams have been disbanded. It’s a free-for-all and there are no rules. The question is: what would you do?

Topic headings include:

  • Ghost Rules
  • Poll Results
  • The Market Rules
  • Channels versus Communities
  • Rules or No Rules, Off-Label Comments Won’t Fly
  • User-Generated Content
  • Ratings & Reviews
  • Do Your Patients Want Communities?
  • Enhanced Product Claims
  • Moderation Makes Sense
  • Marketing With Meaning
  • The FDA Isn’t the Problem

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Pharma-Sponsored Medical GhostwritingWhat the Ghosts Have to Say About It

Ghost WriterThe New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Journal of the American Medical Association, all recently have come out with stories and studies suggesting that pharma-sponsored medical ghostwriting is rampant. “These seemingly objective articles,” says the WSJ, “which doctors around the world use to guide their care of patients, are often part of a marketing campaign by companies to promote a product or play up the condition it treats.”

Pharma Marketing News surveyed readers to determine if medical journal articles sponsored and ghostwritten by drug companies are a legitimate part of marketing to physicians and to get opinions on various other issues raised in the press about ghostwriting.

One of the first things learned was that it is not easy to even define what is meant by “ghostwriting!”

This article presents results from the survey. Nearly 40% of the respondents were medical writers (including “ghosts”) who made clear their opinions regarding the issue.

Topic headings include:

  • How Rampant is Pharma-Sponsored Ghostwriting?
  • Pharma’s New Marketing Partner: Medical Journals
  • Defining Ghostwriting
  • Survey Results
  • Do Physicians Care?

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Pharmaguy’s Twitter FollowersWhat Do They Want and How Is It Relevant to You?

Followers of @pharmaguyNo matter what people say, your Twitter strategy must include building a large and qualified Twitter following. The last part – qualified – should be the most important part of your Twitter follower strategy. You want followers who are the right fit for your messages.

Pharmaguy (aka John Mack) now has over 3,500 followers and these followers are probably the same followers you’d like to have if and when you get involved in Twitter. But hurry! Breaking in as a power user may be difficult. Research shows a virtuous cycle may exist, making popular users ever more popular.

This article summarizes the findings of a survey of over 400 of @pharmaguy’s followers. The results will give you a better idea why people interested in the pharmaceutical industry use Twitter and what they expect to get out of it.

Topic headings include:

  • Twitter is Important to Pharma
  • Does your company permit social media monitoring?
  • Who is Your Audience and What Do They Want?
  • What You Can Learn from My Survey Results
  • My Followers are Pharma Professionals
  • Why Do My Followers Use Twitter?
  • Why Do People Follow Me of Twitter?
  • Other Reasons for Using Twitter
  • How Useful are My Tweets?
  • What’s In It For You?

Download the full text (pdf) version of this article here: