Part III – Applications of social software for pharmas

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In my previous post I attempted to build an argument that “classical” consumer social media like Facebook is not a good fit for a pharmaceutical company due to the way they market innovative drugs.

According to wikipedia – social media are primarily Internet-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings. It’s a shift from one to many publishing to many-many networking and from centralized control content generation to massive user-generated content.

I would distinguish between the social software (blogs, micro-blogs like Twitter, file sharing, messaging, groups and tagging ) with the media itself (MySpace music, Deezer, Facebook ….). I believe that there a number of important applications of social software for pharmas that fit into the current sales model – here are a couple

Pharma social-search – How about a single search page for doctors, consolidating and summarizing data related to the products a pharma sells? – evidence based studies, pharmacokinetics, practical dosage tables and new pipeline.   Provide less data but more relevant science for doctors’ needs. Let a doc choose and let the network of colleagues decide what’s most relevant.   This should work well for the regulatory affairs team since they can approve the content they  feed into the aggregator  and filter out the nasty stuff before-hand. That helps with application number two:

Off-label marketing compliance – Provide mediated blogs for  industry experts to talk about  drugs. This is like a “keep your enemy close to you strategy”. Make it a part of the search page for the doctor.  It’s easier to control a blog you maintain than to enforce what a rep may or may not say to a doctor.  More importantly – it’s a way of proving compliance to the regulator.

Market directly to pharmacists – for the same money you can reach out to the pharmacist and make sure she/he understands the indications properly and slip in some competitive marketing stuff on the high margin OTC items. Like why your homeopathic arnica gel is better than Novartis Voltarene.

Collaborative recommendation – Most social media content is very touchy-feely and it’s hard to quantify information value based on clicks on content like Facebook birthday and favorite car applications  However – for scientific articles we could take the Deezer approach where a doctor in the network creates one or more “playlists of favorite articles. These “playlists” of articles form the basis of the recommendations which look for other articles that have citation patterns (instead of item ratings) similar to the doctor’s “playlist”. This is the approach taken in the Synthese Recommender project

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