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In January, Sanofi-Aventis surprised the industry by launching the first ever pharma blog — Discuss Diabetes — that encourages a two-way communication with diabetes patients. According to Laura Kolodjeski, senior manager, U.S. Diabetes Patient Solutions and blog curator, sanofi-aventis views social media channels as an integral component of its commitment to partner with the diabetes community to help people living with diabetes make better-informed decisions about their condition. Through the blog, the company hopes to engage in a dialog and create a space for people living with diabetes, and their loved ones, to share insights and feedback. “Discuss Diabetes was created as part of our commitment to social media and to the diabetes community, as a critical channel for establishing and building sustainable relationships with members of the diabetes online community,” Ms. Kolodjeski says. “As a partner, we must truly understand the diabetes community and their needs and then try to help fulfill those needs.” Ms. Kolodjeski says as a company that manufactures diabetes products, sanofi-aventis is positioned to be an expert in the field and has a lot of valuable information to share with the diabetes community. Over time, the blog will add features, such as an RSS feed, to better serve its following. Looking ahead, the company plans to get to know the diabetes community and offer information that most relates to its needs. “Our participation will be driven by the community,” Ms. Kolodjeski says. “We will spend the next year focused on listening, offering valuable information, and assessing what changes we need to make. Through this assessment, we will gather what the community deems as unmet wants or needs and provide solutions, if we can.” Sanofi-Aventis is meeting the nebulous regulations and rules regarding social media head on by taking measures to ensure that all discussions of its medical products are focused on approved uses. The blog is moderated and all comments are reviewed before they are posted. Abusive posts will be addressed appropriately, Ms. Kolodjeski says. However, Sanofi-Aventis U.S. is not responsible for the postings and opinions of third parties. The company is also prepared to address any adverse event reports that may come in through the blog. “If comments include possible adverse events or side effects associated with any Sanofi-Aventis product, we may be required to contact commenters for further information, per the company’s adverse event reporting guidelines,” she says. “As we continue to publish content on the blog, it is our hope that it will organically develop a following and ongoing dialog with the diabetes online community.” The company is open to having guest bloggers participate on the blog, as well, Ms. Kolodjeski says. If someone is interested in contributing to the blog, they should e-mail for more information. { For more information, visit Trend Watch: More companies are finding ways to create a presence on social media, and some are even accommodating two-way conversations. You’ve come along way, pharma. Sanofi-Aventis Breaks One-Way Code of Pharma Social Media Social media is not just for ­marketing anymore While the industry’s marketers and agencies struggle with how to effectively and compliantly use social media, contract research organizations also test the waters for subject recruitment and clinical trial information. According to European electronic newsletter Outsourcing-Pharma, at least 50 of the top contract research and manufacturing organizations are using Twitter. The newsletter created a list on its Twitter feed that follows the tweets and updates of CROs and CMOs. According to analysis by Outsourcing-Pharma, most CROs are using Twitter at trade shows to make company and trade show related announcements designed to drive booth traffic. Some companies post messages to Twitter on a more regular basis regarding press mentions, clinical research news, and company announcements. In other related news, patient recruitment agency Blue Chip recently launched a survey to determine how people are using social media in an attempt to determine how it can be used for subject recruitment and retention. The 20-question survey asks participants what platform they most use, what disease state is their top interest, and how often they visit online health communities. Open to all interested parties, the 20-question, multiple-choice survey — Online Health Research Survey — can be found online at { For more information, ­ Med journal publishes report on social networking diabetes sites According to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, there is much disparity in quality of information across the many websites designed for patients with diabetes. According to researchers, only half of the sites presented content consistent with diabetes science and clinical practice, while fewer sites offer both scientific accuracy and strategies to protect patients. The study evaluated 10 social networking websites for patients with diabetes and reported that there are large variations in the quality of information and privacy protections across the sites. The evaluation, funded by CDC and NIH, was conducted by researchers at the Children’s Hospital Boston Informatics Program on diabetes; they looked at websites that appeared prominently in Google searches. Researchers examined the accessibility and readability of privacy policies; the degree to which website content corresponded with science and clinical practice standards; how much control users have over the sharing of personal information; and ways to audit content and encourage transparency. Another report published in the same JAMIA issue speaks to the social disparities present in patient portal use in diabetes, which outlines the fact that having access does not mean interaction is equal across ethnicities and education levels. Compared with non-Hispanic Caucasians, African–Americans and Latinos had higher odds of never logging on to a diabetes portal, as did those without a degree. Those most at risk for poor diabetes outcomes may fall further behind as health systems increasingly rely on the Internet and limit current modes of access and communication, the report concludes. { For more information, visit and tab Apps… Medical Radio Created by ReachMD, this app allows physicians to keep up to date with medical content, including quality peer-to-peer content programs that cover a range of topics for both general practitioners and specialists. The app features a live stream of ReachMD’s satellite radio channel and access to more than 5,000 searchable podcasts featuring medical information, conversation, and education, and free CME content and exams. { To download, visit Merck & Co iPhone apps iManage Migraine: The iManage Migraine app is one of three Merck created last year to help patients and caregivers track symptoms, implement treatment plans, and get access to important health information. The migraine app was a request from Merck’s customer advisors, according to a report in InformationWeek. As with the other free, unbranded applications — iChemoDiary and Vree for patients with diabetes — iManage Migraine helps patients track symptoms so that they can provide more detailed information to their physicians. The apps are available on a variety of mobile platforms, including Android, Apple iPhone, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile. The company reports that hundreds of thousands of users have downloaded these apps. { To download, visit Tweets… By the numbers: Pharma twitter feeds In a blog targeting aspiring pharmacy technicians called Pharmacy Technician Certification, we discovered a list of 50 Twitter feeds for pharma news ranked in order of the number of current followers. Here are the top four corporate Twitter feeds on that list: » Pfizer News @pfizer_news » Novartis @novartis » Boehringer @boehringer or boehringerUS » Astra Zeneca US @astrazenecaUS { For more information, visit Videos… Janssen-Cilag ADHD Video Using an animation technique called rotoscoping (think Charles Schwab commercials), UK-based Janssen-Cilag created a video for its ADHD YouTube channel that has garnered 145,814 views at press time, since it was first posted in June 2010. Called “Living with ADHD: A day in the life,” the video explains the key issues surrounding ADHD from the perspective of a child with the condition. Janssen-Cilag posted a stringent commenting policy, as well as a disclaimer, along with the video. Some of the commenting policy reads as follows: “All submissions will be reviewed and may not be posted if deemed inappropriate. Comments that are off-topic, offensive, or promotional, will not be posted. Please note that we will not post comments about any specific products or treatments, whether they are sold by Janssen-Cilag Ltd or not. The comments contained on this site come from members of the public, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Janssen-Cilag, and no endorsement or approval of their content should be implied. Comments that contain links to third-party or commercial websites may not be posted; please note that any websites that may appear in comments are not endorsed or supported by Janssen-Cilag.” { To view, visit Send us your favorite industry apps, Twitter feeds, YouTube videos, and Facebook links to

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