In a recent Marketing: Health blog post at MediaPost, Kathy Thorbahn of Razorfish Health, a marketing/advertising/public relations firm focused on health care industries, makes a strong case for the pharmaceutical industry to fully embrace social media in its efforts to give balanced information for consumers to make good health decisions.
While several companies are experimenting with self-created communities built around different products, brands, diseases and conditions, as well as starting Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and YouTube channels for company news the promotion of certain products (see Digital Dose of Pharma for a list of pharma’s early adopters in social media), Thorbahn makes the point that the industry is missing out on the real essence of social media—“. . . ultimately social media is not about advertising, and it’s not about marketing. It’s about sharing the insight, information and tools that can help people make better decisions.”
In the not-too-distant future, we may see companies like Thought Leader Select and others, in their ongoing efforts to promote positive relationships among pharmaceutical companies, physicians, and patients, utilizing social media communities to bring these three groups together to share product information (pharma), treatment advice (doctors), and feedback about the effectiveness of drug therapies (patients). This level of communication and transparency, aimed at promoting the public health by drilling down to one-to-one interaction with consumers, can only improve relations among drug companies, doctors, and patients.