I enjoy seeing ANY kind of progress in pharma’s use of social media – most of us who are involved realize that we’re still going to be in the shallow end of the pool for a while (with all the regulatory uncertainty) – but when any company tries to responsibly move the needle, they deserve a shout-out.
Some weeks back, I tweaked my friends at Pfizer about an apparent lack of progress in some of their social media efforts. I’m glad to say that some interesting developments have come to light in recent days, underscored by Ray Kerins at a recent BDI event in NYC.
1. Their Twitter account (@pfizer_news) now has an identifiable, named person behind it (Jen Kokell) who showed up at the event along with Ray. Also, the tweets are beginning to feel a little more personal, even if most of them are still one-way communications. Bravo #1.
2. Pfizer has launched an internal platform for employee discussion, where (apparently) just about anything goes, apart from the usual restrictions like cursing, etc. This is private, of course, but an encouraging development – I still think that much of the initial growth of social media in pharma will be with internal solutions that break down silos, encourage openness, and help people find information from their colleagues. Bravo #2.
3. A great idea is the recently launched Medicine Safety website, for patient education in a completely non-promotional environment. This type of interactive educational website is a great use of an on-line forum for helping improve the experience of utilizing medicine. It also has a link to Medwatch for reporting adverse events. Bravo #3.
4. They’re also experimenting with group public blogging (Think Science Now), to try to bring the voice of their scientist community into the open. It’s hard to say how successful this will be, but certainly a Bravo (#4) is deserved for the idea and effort.
5. I’ll save my biggest Bravo for last. And that’s Ray Kerins’ stated approach that they’re just going GET OUT THERE, be engaged in the dialogue, figure it out, and if they don’t yet know how to measure/quantify results – well, that’s not going to stop them from starting and evolving. This is exactly the approach I seek to encourage – measure what and when you can, but don’t sit at the starting line when being involved in social networking can bring about so much potential good over time.
I ended my prior post this way: There are much smaller companies who are being quite pro-active in this space. This would be a very good time for Pfizer to seize the mantle of leadership. Hmmm…maybe that’s happening sooner rather than later!
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