The Big Rx/Dx Cop Out

There is an interesting article in Ad Age today about Pharma spending to reach $1 billion in 2010. The real meat of the story though is the sub-head Growth Stymied by Lack of Clear FDA Guidelines. 

As I said a few weeks ago in a recent post is that the myth that we all must wait around for the FDA to provide concrete guidance is foolish and is now entering the insulting stage. Especially when mainstream media picks it up and pushes it out.

This article merely perpetuates this myth with an unidentified quote from a "Brand Manager" in a top 5 Pharma company.

"That's the problem," said a brand manager for one of the top five pharmaceutical companies, who asked not to be identified. "You read survey after survey after survey, and they all say that health seekers go online more and more to find information. But it's hard to talk to them in that medium without guidelines, because then you're risking a [FDA warning] letter."

This is slightly laughable and thankfully this individual wisely chose not to be provide their name. I don't think the problem is the FDA and their lack of guidance. There are guidelines set and they involve quite a bit of strategy and common sense; such as listening, providing value, engaging and not expecting anything in return. That's the problem when you rely on "survey after survey" and don't roll up your sleeves to develop real strategies or wait to be told what to do.

However, the inconvenient truth is that social media hasn't and won't lead to quantifiable bottom line results and it is counter-intuitive to the broadcast (fire hose) model of marketing that the unidentified "Brand Manager" is probably quite familiar with. 

All-in-all, this leads me to refresh my perspective from the post I wrote recently that outlines why social media has taken so long in Rx/Dx organizations.

Now I understand that this could sound like a pile of excuses, but I live in reality and reality being what it is, there are real reasons for why the industry is not further along. The easiest thing in life is to be contrarian or tell people what they should be doing. However, if you're pragmatic and dig a little deeper you can see there are challenges that are beginning to be overcome. It's going to take more time, but you'll see change, you'll see more advocacy, you'll see value add efforts and eventually relationship building and you'll see great social media from Pharma. There are many smart, passionate people in Pharma who want to do the right thing when it comes to social media but as I've said before in the past all revolutions start with a challenge to the status quo. That is happening. I've also said that technology and health care is like the turtle and the hare. Steady wins the race.   

Finally, I wrote a post recently that says it's about the patient and not the drug or device. When more companies realize this and develop strategies around this idea then social media will take off.
Social media is not about the company or the brand, it's about interaction, in a valuable way to people. It's the right thing to do.

Maybe the author of the article, Mr. Rich Thomaselli could do a little more homework or do a quick #hashtag search on Twitter to find and talk to people that are really in tune with social media and Rx/Dx and they can tell him where the real progress is being made.

I am also available.

Photo Credit: gapingvoid.com

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