Big Pharma Big on Social Media?

Drug Firms Jockey for Space Online
By Francesca Lunzer Kritz, The Washington Post, June 16, 2009

Summary: Pharmaceutical companies are promoting their drugs using social media tools such as Facebook (McNeil's attention-deficit-disorder drugs), YouTube (the asthma drug Symbicort), Twitter (Novartis), blogs (Alli, a nonprescription weight-loss drug), and MySpace (Addiction 411, advice on kicking the prescription painkiller habit from British drugmaker Reckitt Benckiser). Wary of the FDA, which has yet to set rules for marketing drugs via the Internet, and worried that some consumers might post negative comments or videos, drug companies have been timid. Last year, Merck posted a Facebook page to promote Gardasil, a vaccine to help prevent human papillomavirus, which causes some forms of cervical cancer. GlaxoSmithKline used a humorous YouTube video to call awareness to restless legs syndrome. Recently, Bayer Aspirin put up a Facebook page for women, which includes an interactive quiz women can use to assess their risk of heart disease. Celebration Chain, hosted by Arimidex, a breast cancer drug, offers information about the drug and invites users to celebrate the virtues of a person they know with breast cancer. A survey published by Manhattan Research found that 60+ million U.S. adults are consumers of "Health 2.0": health blogs, online support groups, and other health-related social media applications.  |  Read full article

From DCPA. org Health News Alert.

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