Fusion Blog

Arguments for and Against Social Media in Pharma Marketing

For many companies, the main issue when implementing a social media campaign is creating the social media policy that will guide employees on how to conduct themselves online. However when it comes to regulated industries,  the question is even more basic:

Should or shouldn’t we implement social media marketing?

Although it can be difficult to toe the line in regulated industries (especially in the pharmaceutical industry) when it comes to social media, there are both arguments for and against using social media. Here are a few of them:

“Companies that are using fear of regulations or lack of guidance as an excuse to sit on the social media sidelines are missing out on important opportunities to enhance their online presence and connect with their customers.” – Dave Folkens, Top Rank

In his article titled, Why Social Media is a Must in Pharma Marketing, Folkens discusses how fear shouldn’t be a driving factor in your business—and likewise shouldn’t keep you away from social media. He gives a list of things to consider as pharma companies set up social media campaigns.

“…because the agency [the FDA] still has not provided guidance on how to strike a fair balance between a drug’s risks and benefits in social media advertising, pharmaceutical companies have been cautious with their approach to social media.” – Kassity Liu, JOLT Digest

Without clear, concrete guidelines from the FDA, it’s hard for many pharmaceutical companies to navigate the social media world. This article, FDA and Social Media: The Impact of Social Media on Prescription Drug Advertising, reviews those limitations.

“Public, interactive, real-time social media platforms and commercial pharma communications simply don’t mesh well. At all.” –Ed Silverman, Pharmalot

Silverman believes that pharma and social simply don’t mix. He likens it to a marriage counseling session: “So can pharma and social media get along, or would a marriage counselor declare, ‘irreconcilable differences’?”

“When big pharma leverages technology, open data and social media to develop innovative patient-facing apps, it’s a win to the fourth power (i.e., a win-win-win-win).” –Rosina Samadani, President and Founder of Truth on Call and Capella Advisors 

During the Health Care Innovations Summit in January, Samadani saw first-hand how big pharma is using social media (and other new technologies) to benefit patients. “That’s the great thing about pharma getting it,” she said, “We all benefit.”

SOUND OFF: In the age of instant communication, does it make sense for even regulated industries (like pharma) to steer clear of social media? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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