After a short vacation in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Shenandoah National Park (see my photos on Flickr here), I was feeling disconnected from my homies in the pharma marketing social media hood. So, yesterday, I got in my whip and went cruising for ExL Pharma’s 3rd Annual Digital Pharma “un” conference in Bridgewater, NJ.

All the members of my posse were there including Fabio Gratton (@skypen), Brad Pendergraph (@bradatpharma, who I predict may not long be “at pharma”), Kevin Nalty (aka “Nalts”; @nalts, no longer at pharma), Shwen Gwee (@shwen, currently at pharma), Steve Woodruff (@swoodruff, who took the photo on left; that’s me in the yellow Hawaiian shirt that Steve did not like), Ellen Hoenig Carlson (@ellenhoenig), Christiane Truelove (@Christinaetrue), Phil Baumann (@philbaumann), Jonathan Richman (@jonmrich), and other members of the pharma social media posse. Search for the #digpharm Twitter hashtag (see here) to find them all.

What you won’t find, however, are any pharma legal/regulatory folk. At yesterday’s “un” conference afternoon session there was a lot of complaints about legal/regulatory restrictions on the use of social media by pharma marketers. You know, “legal/regulatory won’t allow us to do this” and “legal/regulatory won’t allow us to do that” and “our legal/regulatory people don’t understand social media,” etc., etc.

When I asked “Are they any legal/regulatory people here?”, no one raised their hands. Maybe they were there but afraid to expose themselves to such a hostile group or — much more likely — they just were not there.

The disconnect between legal/regulatory within pharma and social media advocates inside and outside pharma has gotten so bad, I liken the situation to street gangs (eg, Crips vs. Bloods)

Unless these two pharma gangs can discuss and resolve their differences (ie, by sending representatives to a social media “peace” conference), we’re not making any progress. And I don’t think any guidance from the FDA will make a bit of difference (more about that in my next post).