What’s the future of Social Media Marketing in Pharma?

February 25, 2009

by startupmarketingdiva

There’s clearly been much written and discussed in recent months about SMM.  This new marketing option is making a big splash among marketers of consumer products in the hi-tech, food, and entertainment industries and the like.  For example, see previous blog posts on Jack In The Box by my fellow blogger Joe Young.  This is all very applicable and makes sense.  Now, coming from the pharmaceutical world, I wonder:  What role does SMM play in the pharmaceutical industry?  This industry is tightly regulated by the Food & Drug Administration.  The FDA monitors every action that a pharmaceutical company makes during the drug development process and even more so, after the drug has been launched. For example, pharmaceutical companies are required to monitor adverse effects of drugs once the drug goes on market.   From a marketing point of view, SMM would be a great tool to use in market research as well as in monitoring both positive and negative effects of pharmaceutical drugs in use.  User groups for those using a particular drug can be set up by a pharmaceutical company to bring patients together in a community and exchange information and experiences with a particular drug.  But, is this something a pharmaceutical company willing to implement?  What are the consequences of “too much information”?  What would be the ‘side effects’ of such social groups for the pharma company?  What are the pros and cons of SMM in the pharmaceutical world?  What role does the FDA play with respect to SMM?  I would like to hear your thoughts and experiences on the future of SMM in pharma….yours truly – startupmarketingdiva.


5 Responses to “What’s the future of Social Media Marketing in Pharma?”

  1. joseph.young.2009 Says:

    Hey Diva,

    Thanks for the crosspost! We covered this topic in our Research for Marketing course here at Rady. One thing that pharma could do (and probably is doing), is track the buzz of their products via online tracking services. I believe the market leaders is BuzzMetrics by Nielson. This would allow pharma to see what the initial response to a drug’s release is as well as track the social marketing response to different campaigns. I don’t ever think you can have “too much information.” But you do need the right tools to gather insight from it.

  2. Mike Spataro Says:


    There are dos and donts in social media marketing and monitoring for every industry, but especially pharma. We help a number of pharma brands understand the consumer mindset around many serious healthcare issues ranging from pre-product launch, through launch and post-launch analysis. There is a combination of art and science to social media in pharma and the rules can be tricky at times.


  3. startupmarketingdiva Says:

    Can you expand on some of those “dos and don’ts” in pharma marketing with respect to SMM? I’m also curious to know more about those tricky rules.
    Yours truly — SUMD

  4. Selina Says:

    Type in any drug and other than the official information, there are already existing forums that discuss side effects and lawyers collecting cases for class action lawsuits. It would be interesting to see how Pharma SMM addresses these.

    • startupmarketingdiva Says:

      Selina, thank you for your comments. Take a look at my recent post: “Use of new media in regulated industries” for more info. Yours truly – SUMD

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