There’s a great piece in the current Marketing: Health blog, which asks the very legitimate question ‘Do Patients Want Pharma Involved In Social Media?’ It makes a particularly convincing point when it says that people don’t participate in social networks to “engage with brands” and that the scrutiny that pharma industry faces is particularly heightened when compared to others.
Health-oriented web communities have existed as long as the internet has been around. Government regulation has delayed pharma’s online entry. The author of the article feels that it will be good if pharma becomes a source of information. I don’t know if I believe that would be enough for any sales-based business, let alone one that has had its share of product lawsuits and lies.
It will be the online community and their open discussions which will keep pharma honest. The industry will not have the appropriate platform to promote, but everything to learn, by listening. Just the way it should be with social media.