Saturday, December 18, 2010

Patient Bloggers and the "T" Word

What an opportunity for industry to regain the public’s trust – or at least some of it.

We’re talking about industry’s use of social media to promote and market product, an excellent way to bypass mainstream media and hone the message. Even though the FDA is expected this month to present guidelines on how pharma can market medicines on Twitter, Facebook, and the like, the agency really has no say on what individual patient bloggers may say about their relationships with industry members.

To quote Pharma Marketing Blog's John Mack: “FDA cannot enforce transparency -- it has no authority over patients who are free to do and say what they like without mentioning any relationship they may have with pharma companies.”

According to Pew Research, about 61% of adults turn to the web for health information, and no doubt some of those people read those blogs. But do those bloggers disclose their relationship with pharma members, if one exists? We think they should.That is why like Sally Church (@maverickNY) we are going to create a disclosure section of this blog and our web site. Trust can be re-built one brick at a time.

And that goes for industry as well: The pharma member who ensures that the blogger discloses the connection is that much closer to establishing company loyalty among the readership.

It’s the T word, folks.  But stay tuned, because the storm around content creation in the industry is the next chapter in this story.  

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