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Pharma and Social Media


With 1.11 billion (March 2013) Facebook users versus 400 million (December 2012) Google+ users, rapidly growing social media websites can be scary. Social media platforms have transformed engagement in all areas – including healthcare. When people get sick, they want to access information right away.

A report by the Pew Research Center noted that 80% of all American Internet users look up information about a specific disease or treatment online; 34% of Internet users read other people’s comments on medical issues; 25% watch online health videos while 34% of the European Union’s population browsed for health information in 2010.

Why pharma should use social media:

  • Be part of the conversation;
  • Improve relationships with doctors (immediate treatment news), patients (empowering them, receiving feedback) and the public;
  • Access real world evidence of medicines (vaccines, global health initiatives, new therapies, etc.);
  • Share ideas and partner on research and innovation;
  • Share risk information;
  • Engage with patients and learn about their experiences.

However, there is an ambiguous regulatory environment about pharma using social media. See FDA  guidance for Pharma on the use of social media and off label use.

Yet, here is a list of pharma companies who have already started to embrace the advantages of blogging, online communities and other social media tools.

A report written in collaboration with business intelligence company SAS states that “the amount of patient insights available on the Internet is virtually limitless. Patients are freely expressing their opinions about their medication and health management experiences”.

Still hesitant?  Here are a few tips to get you started:

10 Rules of Engagement: Building Social Confidence in Pharma by Weber Shandwick

Get Social with EFPIA

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