I’ve heard of pharmaceutical company blogs that were launched to promote a drug already on the market (ie, alliconnect), but I haven’t seen a blog that was launched to promote a drug that isn’t yet approved for marketing – until now!

According to Jonathan D. Rockoff at WSJ Health Blog,  Sciele, which is a unit of Japanese pharma Shionogi, “has been pursuing two tracks to raise awareness [of premature ejaculation]. For months, it has sought to educate physicians about premature ejaculation, making presentations at medical meetings. Last month, after Phase 3 studies finished, the company launched a Web site for bloggers with information about the condition and scientific milestones in their product’s development” (see “Premature Ejaculation: Marketing the Condition Before the Drug“).

The website is actually a blog. Like any other blog it consists of posts and has a number of buttons you can push to share posts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

It includes a “Premature Ejaculation (PE) Fact Sheet,” which I have adapted here to create my “Premature Social Media Promotion (PSMP) Fact Sheet“:

PSMP affects an estimated one-third of U. S. pharma companies, making it twice as prevalent as Web 1.0 promotion (W1P).

  • Unlike W1P,  PSMP is NOT brand-specific – it can occur at virtually any stage in the drug development cycle.
  • Despite its prevalence, until recently there was no universally agreed upon definition of PSMP, leaving the pharma marketing population underserved.

PSMP Definition
The International Society for Social Marketing of Drugs defines PSMP as the most common pharma social media marketing dysfunction characterized by:

  • Ejaculation which always or nearly always occurs seconds after the ad agency makes a proposal to develop a social media marketing campaign; and
  • The inability to delay approval of all or nearly all social media agency penetrations of a marketing department; and
  • Negative personal consequences, such as being fired, bother, frustration and/or the avoidance of the product brand director.

Causes/Risk Factors
PSMP may have physiological and psychological components, but the exact cause of PSMP has not yet been determined. Until recently, there was not an internationally agreed-upon, evidence-based definition of PSMP so its causes and risk factors are still being determined although it is strongly believed that excess exposure to non-pharma interactive agencies is to blame.

Currently, consumers do not screen for PSMP but rather discover the condition following a Google search link or a Tweet from a friend, and often times do so without thinking.

  • Survey data indicate that pharma marketers are reluctant to discuss premature marketing issues with the trade press and that the editors generally do not initiate discussions of such issues.

Effect on Relationships
PSMP  is highly associated with negative experiences in traditional marketing interactions with consumers and the press. In an observational study of pharma marketers with PSMP and their vendor partners, 64 percent of marketers reported high levels of distress while only 24 percent of vendors reported high levels of distress.

To date, no prescription drug has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of PSMP. However, thinking about TV advertising often works.