Health Nutrition Marketing: FDA ready to provide guidance for social media?

Jump on the social media bandwagon

FDA may turn one of the biggest challenges to pharma marketing into a greater opportunity to connect with patients

I am a big believer in pharmaceutical brands being in the social media arena, but for too long the pharmaceutical marketing industry has long been attempting to navigate the world of social media with little if any input from FDA.

Rather than over-step boundaries that have not been clearly defined, many pharmaceutical companies have simply chosen to remain silent. But recent guidance from FDA on how to respond to off-label social inquiries may open the doors to clearer standards in social media as a whole. At least that’s the opinion of Joseph Cowen in his recent article titled, “3 Social Media Steps That Pharma Brands Can Take.”

Cowen writes that FDA has finally,“acknowledged that brands are capable of responding responsibly regarding their product in an honest, non-misleading, and accurate manner.”

This is a huge turning point for brands that have opened up dialogue with consumers only to find themselves gagged by FDA regulations (real or imagined).

If your pharmaceutical brand has been wary of creating a consumer-facing social media site, this may be a great time of entry. According to Cowan, here is the three-step process you will need to undertake:

  1. Listen to conversation in social media regarding a product. Use technology to search social media for content related to the product in question and terms related to company studies regarding new, off-label usage.
  2. A pharma brand’s legal team should create a statement. This document would provide consumers with a consistent way to contact the company – without mentioning the precise off-label usage by name. (Mentioning the off-label usage by name in the company response could be seen as a marketing opportunity.)
  3. Pay attention to health care professionals (HCP)-related social sites. That’s where the same desire for information might occur, but the response by the pharma brand should be as generic and non-marketing in nature as the above example.

Many pharmaceutical companies may still choose to wait for FDA to provide even more guidelines on social media before moving forward, but there are reasons to be optimistic.

At times it felt as though FDA would forever deny the reality of social media, making it impossible for pharmaceutical brands to stay current. Slowly but surely, FDA is catching up, which may turn one of the biggest challenges to pharma marketing into a greater opportunity to connect with patients.

Click on the following link to read Joseph Cowen article, “3 Social Media Steps That Pharma Brands Can Take”. You may also be interested in these articles:

3 Facebook Challenges Pharmaceutical Brands Have to Overcome

Health Nutrition Marketing: Changing the Way Pharma Sells

Organic SEO Marketing for Health Nutrition Brands

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/matthamm/2945559128/”>Matt Hamm</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>

Written by Jessica Clay

Jessica Clay

Jessica is a competitive athlete and the President of Energize HNM, a health and nutrition marketing agency. Jessica is committed to supporting health brands of every size by helping them define their missions and connect with their customers on a deeper, more meaningful level.

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