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Taren Grom, Editor

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PV0116_MarthaWalzOf the 50 largest pharmaceutical companies worldwide, according to a study by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, only half are even dabbling in social media. Furthermore, only 10 of these companies are using the big three — Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube — and an even smaller number are interacting with patients in a meaningful way.

What’s the #matter? Well, by all accounts companies are still fearful of the FDA and the administration’s lack of clear guidance.

IMS Health’s report, Engaging Patients Through Social Media, notes that many of the challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry’s adoption of social media still include: reporting ADRs (adverse drug reaction), being able to drive new insights via big data, and understanding what constitutes acceptable communication with consumers online.

PV0116_JosephYoussefWhile communicating directly with consumers via social media remains a wishy-washy situation for the pharmaceutical industry, IMS analysts say many of these companies, as well as their supporting agencies, are finding enormous strategic value in analyzing social insights to: examine the impact of side effects (on an aggregate level); uncover new product ideas; identify and monitor threats to brands and categories of medicine; understand the patient experience with diseases; perform trend analysis for consumer perceptions of medications; track how patients are managing their diseases; and identify new audiences and create messaging that resonates.

According to a recent report from Cello Health Insight, The Digital Health Debate 2015, social media has an increasingly important role to play in doctors’ peer-to-peer communications, but it is yet to take off for patient communications.

PV0116_TheodoreSearchSkiptaCello Health reports that 30% of doctors globally now claim to use consumer social media to communicate with their peers. However, only 8% of doctors claim to use it to communicate with patients and pharma representatives.

Furthermore, according to the report, there is wide regional variation in social media use, which pharmaceutical companies will need to understand as they craft their strategic development.  (PV)

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