Monday, August 15, 2011

Score: Marketers: 0, Promotional Review Boards: 1

As of today, Facebook will no longer allow biotech/pharma companies to disable their comment pages.  As a result, we are already seeing companies taking down their pages.  AstraZeneca and J&J already shut down some pages.  For these companies, the risk of patients posting on adverse events or off-label claims are too high.  Or perhaps these companies have not reached consensus on the best way to leverage social media and chose the most conservative route to shut down the pages.  Or they are waiting on some guidance from the FDA.

Unfortunately, I'm not surprised.   Culturally as a whole our industry is rightfully very conservative.  Off label uses of drugs can have detrimental effects; worst case: people can die.   

However, I do think we can find balance and a way to utilize these amazing marketing avenues.  I don't expect the FDA to magically come up with some guidance in the short term.  And by the time they do, we'll be onto marketing 3.0 and their guidance will already be obsolete.  I would encourage biotech/pharma marketers to work with their regulatory teams to continue to find an appropriate and safe way to keep the conversation alive.

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