Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays from ePharma Summit!

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We're going to be taking a much needed break from the world of online health to celebrate the holidays with our family and friends. A huge "Thank You" to you, our loyal readers for your insight, news and communication about our online health experience. We look forward to 2009 and all of its glorious opportunity!

Thanks again and have a very joyous holiday season.

Monday, December 22, 2008

ePharma Summit in 2008

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As a year draws to a close, let's check out the top posts of the year!

Here are our top 5 posts of the year:

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Novartis Increase Social Media Budgets

Lack of Online Pharma Advertising

Physicians use of Internet Expected to Increase

Pharmaceutical Industry Legal Liability with Social Media

Acuminder brings Pharma to Facebook

Friday, December 19, 2008

Merck & Co in Stinky Situation with California Residents

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Alleged contamination by the California location of Merck & Company is under pressure by local residents who claim that the contaminated water has made them sick.

shockingly...Merck attorneys said there's no evidence the pollution caused illness among the plaintiffs.

You be the judge.

If they should be found guilty of contamination, then should there be heavier regulations set in place for pharmaceutical companies to avoid further contamination of the environment?

We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wyeth Pharma Acquires Thiakis for $30M

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In a relatively small acquisition, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals has acquired UK based Thiakis for $30M--mostly for their TKS1225, which is being studied for the treatment of medical obesity and other co-morbidities. TKS1225 and related compounds are synthetic versions of the natural gastrointestinal peptide oxyntomodulin.

With a growing obesity epidemic sweeping across the United States, Wyeth has made a powerful move to stay ahead of the other pharm companies when it comes to innovative therapies for this disease.

What do you think of this merger, will it have a lasting effect on the pharm industry?

We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Salix Pharmaceuticals announces new online resource

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Salix Pharmaceuticals has a new online resource to help health care providers who are looking for alternatives to over the counter bowel preparations. The website can be visited here.

For more information read the article at Market Watch.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Universal digital health records in the future

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The Wall Street Journal recently spoke with aetnahealth CEO Jonathon Bush about the future of digital health records. One of Barack Obama's platforms was that the nation would have digital health records within five years. This is not the first attempt at digitizing the nation's health records, both former President Clinton and President Bush did not get this accomplished while they were in office.

Bush further explained what he thought about the future of this attempt:
“The damaging side would be if help from the government ended up in the form of subsidies for broken approaches that have not worked…then broken purveyors of the broken approaches would be able to live longer and not die" Software “isn’t the dominant approach in financial services or retail banking or anywhere else, and it shouldn’t be in health care.”

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mednar

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Hope Leman recently wrote an article that focuses on Mednar, a health search engine, and part of the Deep Web technologies.


Mednar is here and it is good. Check it out medical librarians, public library staff, academic librarians who do life science searches, busy front-line clinicians, clinical researchers, medical school faculty, power searchers generally in the health sciences and anybody, indeed, who wants quick, authoritative results in health searching. Yet another impressive achievement of the firm Deep Web Technologies, which already has a stellar record of achievement providing the underlying technology of Scitopia.org, Science.gov, WorldWideScience.org and the brand new Biznar, a free, publicly available business research site.

To read the complete article, click here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Inspire brings patients together

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In a recent article at Xconomy, they look at how the social network Inspire not only brings patients together, but also provides a base for clinical trials. Amir Lewkowicz sat down with Wade Roush to talk about how the social network which began by bringing nonprofits together so parents and caregivers could communicate. To bring in revenue, they allow companies running clincial trials access to their community to find patients. Read the full article here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

ePrescribing can save money

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In a recent study by the Archives of Internal Medicine, they show that doctors who prescribe medicines online are more likely to choose lower cost drugs, which leads to money saving by patients and insurers. However, only 6% of US doctors save prescribe drugs online.

In this study, 17.4 million prescriptions were filled for 1.5 million patients by 1200 physicians online, and there was an increased prescription rate of Tier I drugs by 3.3%. Tier II prescriptions dropped by 1.9% and Tier III decreased by 1.5%. This lead to a savings of $0.70 per month by the patients.

For more information, read here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

BeWell.com joins Web 2.0

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At DTC Marketing, they share their insights on new Pharma 2.0 site, BeWell.com.

Well Be Well.com, a new website with health content, fully embraces Web 2.0 and is a great site with a ton of resources for patients. Included on the site are a range of experts from everything from sexuality to allergies. There are communities where people can exchange information and ask question of the expert staff and videos that people can view at their leisure.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Business Week looks at Patients Like Me

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In a recent extensive article, Business Week takes a look at the power that PatientsLikeMe can provide to patients around the world who have the same disease. So far, 23,000 patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson's diesase, HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, or mood disorders. The power behind the patients is the fact that their involvement will bring insight, solace and power to the patients which can produce results that are not common, but this concentrated group provides a base of patients that can participate in clinical trials. For more information, read the article here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hospitals joining Twitter

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With the growing use of Twitter in the medical world, we see patients connecting to doctors and their health care systems. There are a growing number of hospitals connecting to their patients through Twitter. Check the Clinical Cases blog for an extensive list, but here are a few:

Johns Hopkins
Mayo Clinic
Cleveland Clinic

St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital

Friday, December 5, 2008

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee to provide online service

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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee will begin providing online service for 19,000 seniors to manage their health information online. This service will be provided to those who are enrolled in their Advantage plans and will provide aid to manage their medications and chronic conditions. They will also be receiving articles, personal reminders, and outreach from their care providers as well. For more information, click here.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Health 2.0 driving up consumer expectations

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Michael Carbine, the editor at ASI Health, recently wrote a piece exploring how health 2.0 is changing the expectations of those involved in healthcare. Since social networks are driving new collaborations and providing another source of information for the consumer, patients are begining to look at themselves as both the patients and the consumers. Read the article here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A physician's view on social media

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Dr. Jason Bahn recently wrote a post on The Healthcare IT Guy looking at Health 2.0 from a physician's perspective. Since there are currently an estimated 60 million Americans online who look for health information, he believes it's a doctors responsability to be able to educate their patients about online information should the situation arrive. He sees four main areas in which patients are turning to information online: social networks, social searches, knowledge sources and physician online communities.

How involved do you believe doctors should be when it comes to guiding their patients online?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

United Health joins those who provide records online

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According to the Wall Street Journal, United Health has now launched a website for people to store their personal health records on. MyOptumHealth.com is available to anyone who would like to store records, not just customers of United Health. They follow in the steps of Google and Microsoft and insurers Aetna and Wellpoint, who have the option available to those who have health plans with the two companies.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Online ratings and hospitals

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Even though fewer that 15% of Americans go online to find ratings for doctors, hospitals and insurances, hospitals view them as a very important part of the web. At the Press Enterprise, they say that hospitals look to these ratings, and need them to be positive so that they can obtain better insurance contracts, better doctors, both of which lead to more patients and more money. Find out more here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Blogger initative to talk about death

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Engage with Grace is making a huge push this weekend to talk about the subject most of us don't want to, death. A simple form allows those who are dying to make their wishes clear to those around them.

The Wall Street Journal reports a blog initiative to spread the word and encourage families to talk about the topic while they're together as a family this weekend for Thanksgiving.

Paul Levy, blogger and CEO of Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center, has a post this morning, describing an effort to get bloggers to write about this over the holiday weekend, when many people are visiting family. The CEO of Harvard Pilgrim, a health benefits company, tells the Globe that he plans to chime in on his blog.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Employers using Heatlh 2.0

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In a recent article at the Toronto Star, they focus on the growing popularity of how people are going online to discover more about their health and the medical world. But the part that intrigued me most about this article was that some employers are using these sites to promote self-awareness for the employees, and educating them so they can boost productivity and reduce absenteeism.

Dr. Gunther Eysenbach, who provided insight for the article had this to say about why employers are embracing informing their employees of medical issues:

"We now see employers understanding that if they don't start to provide some very important support to their employees, they will be in quite a mess in the next few years because of aging baby boomers who are struggling with health issues, in terms of employee absenteeism, in terms of labour shortages, in terms of (the health effects of) people working 24/7."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Health 2.0 Live

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At Read Write Web, they're hosting a podcast this afternoon to discuss Health 2.0 on the web.


Monday afternoon we will be talking health 2.0 with some industry experts on our podcast show, RWW Live. It will be broadcast live at 3.30pm PST Monday (6.30pm EST). You can tune into the show, and interact with us via the chat, by clicking here.

For more information, click here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Humana starts YouTube Channel

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Humana recently opened up a YouTube channel, which as short clips that describe different aspects of health care in simple terms. Check out the channel here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Contagious can be a positive thing

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In a recent blog at The Health Care Blog, Jim Walker talks about how health 2.0 can be "contagious," but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The article points out that a social network that helped people get together to quit smoking was under publicized. These online social networks are also leading to very knowledgeable patients. But these communities need to be facilitated in the correct way so the outcome can be the most effective.

Walker provided a few guidelines:
-Online health communities need to focus on healthy behaviors

-Patients learn from one another, so get out of the way and let that happen
-Healthy caregivers need to be invited and welcomed into the mix

What guidelines would you add to Walker's ideas for creating an online positive community dealing with health care?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

MarketVox: Digital Doctors Connect to Patients, Info Online

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From MarketVox:

Online Media Consumption for Professional Development

Physicians are increasingly using emerging technology channels to enhance their professional development and shifting their learning online. When it comes to product and treatment information seeking, physicians on average conduct 41% of their pharmaceutical and medical device research online. This number is expected to reach 50% going forward.

For more information, please click here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Potential Seen in Europe for FS

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From MarketWatch:

With no available therapy for the treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome (FS), pharmaceutical companies have shown great interest in coming up with possible recommendations and therapies for treatment. Central nervous system (CNS) niche disorders have always been a major challenge and FS is no different. Some of the key products in late-stage clinical trials have shown considerable promise and offer high growth opportunities.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (
http://www.pharma.frost.com/), European Markets for Fibromyalgia Syndrome, finds that the market earned revenues of $73.4 million in 2007 and estimates this to reach $406.3 million in 2013.
"The increasing number of patients being diagnosed with CNS niche disorders, coupled with the lack of drugs to cater to them, has created tremendous scope for new blockbuster products," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Sriram V. "The absence of effective long-term treatment alternatives for neuropathic pain disorders such as FS has created a large pool of potential patients."


Read the rest of this article here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Google on pharma online spending

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At the Wall Street Journal Health Blog, Google gives insight to what they believe is going on in the pharma industry with online marketing. They think that a company should only spend 4% of their budget online. Companies have been hesitant to dive in and start marketing due to the fact that the FDA has never issues guidelines, but Google claims that companies have gotten better. Read more here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Is the flu coming to get you?

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Google search terms usually show trends. When the search terms are tracked, they can show whats going on in a community. They recently took advantage of this and started tracking search terms that are related to the flu or flu symptoms. In areas that these search terms are high, these areas are more likely to have a flu outbreak. An article at the New York Times examines this new outbreak tracker.

In early February, for example, the C.D.C. reported that the flu cases had recently spiked in the mid-Atlantic states. But Google says its search data show a spike in queries about flu symptoms two weeks before that report was released. Its new service at google.org/flutrends analyzes those searches as they come in, creating graphs and maps of the country that, ideally, will show where the flu is spreading.

This system people in the area to know a full week to ten days lead over flu outbreaks reported by the CDC, because reports of these come from visits to hospitals and doctors, which results in a lag time in information gathering. This is a system that can show the results of the intentions of humans.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Educate and Inform, No Failing Grades

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I thought I'd share this analysis in the NY Times on a new marketing campaign by the health insurer, Cigna. Now while we are talking about a health insurer, I think looking at the tools and different aspects of the campaign can provide some strategies for those of you in the ePharma marketing space. Recently Cigna launched a new educational program that combines online courses, an online game, social networking and charity. Called Cigna University "...it is composed of three courses: “Back to the Basics,” the equivalent of Health Insurance 101; “What’s Your Plan,” outlining the ins and outs of health care plans; and “Take Action Now,” examining the health care platforms of the Democratic and Republican Parties."

Some of the unique aspects of the campaign is not only is the course material available on the primary site but across multiple sites including iTunes, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr. I had to stop and think for a moment - Flickr?? and then I remembered that it now offers users the ability to post videos along with photos.

I think the real unique value to the campaign is the combination of an online game with a charity offering. Cigna offers to make a donation to a charity called Water for People based on the number of correct answers you make. You not only can track your results on the site, but also through your Facebook profile. Now there's a powerful combination in my opinion. Easy access to information, combined with a fun, interactive game that not only feeds into your competitive nature (showing off your score on Facebook) but also your philanthropic side. A winning combination I think. What's unique I think is the use of casual gaming along with aspects of an alternative reality game (ARG) that has become increasingly popular tool for marketers in other retail product spaces and being applied to a product segment not usually known for using such tools.

Now if you are familiar with ARGs, I agree, this example from Cigna is not quite what some marketers have in mind when they think ARG, especially when you compare some of the great ARGs in recent years such as this one and this one. I actually remember my first experience with an ARG, it was for a Sony brand of televisions that was running a campaign that incorporated blogs, online puzzles and cyphers and cryptograms. It was very convoluted to say the least, but for several weeks it had me going back and searching through the material repeatedly.

Nevertheless, what makes an ARG isn't just the complexity of the game itself but the social aspect of it. Here I think is a great take on it. Traditional online or casual games are typically you against the machine or you against another live player. But what takes the ARG to another level is that some aspect of the game can be shared to a broader audience more than just the invitation to play. That's why I think Cigna has found a great combination of the social through sites like Facebook while providing a powerful incentive by combining it with a worthwhile charity. And most importantly - it avoids the typical direct marketing sell, the sites "...are not branded Cigna and the Cigna logo is not all over them,” (sic)Sheila McCormick, director for consumer education at the Chicago office of Cigna, adds, to underline that the initiative is “not to sell product but to educate people”.

It's worth looking at, and its success I think can provide some examples for Pharma marketers to consider as they develop an interact campaign. I've tried to find some similar examples with no luck, if anyone has any, please share and I'll update the post with it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Web 2.0 and Healthcare

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Jerome Nadel has this great presentation showing links between web 2.0 and pharma. Take a second to flip through it.

Web 2.0 And Healthcare
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: 2.0 health)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Intel develops a way for patients to connect to health care providers at home

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Intel has developed a health care laptop, the Intel Health Guide, that is also an application and database system. It allows the health care providers and the patients to be directly connected to each other. It received clearance from the FDA in July and is now being tested in Oregon. Find out more at cNet.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Medicare.com adopts Content Resource Management

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Medicare.com has adopted the use of content resource management to help it's users better access basic coverage information and utilize tools for making informed decisions about their Medicare healthcare options, benefits and needs. Find out more here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Novartis Increase Social Media Budgets

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This post on Med 2.0 discusses how Bristol-Myers Squibb and Novartis have increased their budget for social media initiatives. This is a good day for pharma companies to realize the potential benefits that online communities and other social media efforts can bring to the table. Now that these two huge companies in the pharma industry have taken the first step, it will only be a matter of time before the rest will follow suit.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Calling for Off-Label Promotion Restrictions

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Adriane Fugh-Berman, M.D., an associate professor in the GUMC Department of Physiology and Biophysics, and Douglas Melnick, M.D., a preventive medicine physician in the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, are two researchers asking for tougher more stringent regulation on off-label promotion of drugs. As it stands, once a drug has been approved for one condition, it can in some cases be legally prescribed for another condition or with different dosing. The two researchs, as mentioned here, believe that:

"states and other jurisdictions have a duty to protect the health of the public. Allowing off-label promotion of drugs for untested, unproven benefits maximizes industry profits at the expense of public health." They further go on to say "While off-label use is sometimes necessary… valuable off-label uses should be discussed by unbiased researchers in bona fide medical journals. Promising therapies should be tested in clinical trials. Truly useful off-label benefits of drugs will not remain a secret."

What is your viewpoint on this issue? Do you think there is a need for more stringent regulation with more penalties?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Increasing Amount of Health 2.0 Consumers

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The latest report out from Manhattan Research states that over 60 million Adults in the U.S. are consumers of health 2.0. This includes, health blogs, online support groups, prescription rating sites, and other health-related social media applications, according to this news source. This number is double that of the previous year, and as Meredith Abreu Ressi, VP of Research at Manhattan research stated:

“Social media is changing the way that consumers gather health information from the Internet. Patients and caregivers are no longer limited to static resources but are now sharing advice and treatment experiences online. And it’s not just younger audiences connecting online – consumers with conditions such as cancer, fibromyalgia, and depression are also avid users of these types of resources. Health 2.0 is happening, and it’s changing the way things are done in the healthcare industry.”

Friday, October 31, 2008

Web 2.0 Marketing for Senior Care Suppliers

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I found this white paper earlier today discussing Web 2.0 marketing and PR efforts for Senior Care Suppliers. Some of the topic areas covered in the paper, as remarked on here, are:

- What marketing and PR activities were most important to senior care suppliers last year, and their budgeting plans for the next 12 months;

- Who and what suppliers rely on to stay knowledgeable about the marketplace;

- How optimistic suppliers are about the overall health of the senior care marketplace.

Check it out here, and make sure to let us know your thoughts on web 2.0 marketing trends for this niche market.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Could We See a Boost in Social Media Spend in Pharma?

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Marianne Kolbasuk McGee recently posted at Information Week that the probability that Health Care IT might get a boost next year is very high. The reason behind her thinking is that no matter the outcome of the presidential election, both Obama and McCain have a strong emphasis on using techonology to digitize patients’ records and eliminate any paper-based processes that are inefficient, costly, and redundant.

This also brings up another question, will online pharma marketing budgets be raised as well? Pharma companies like WebMD, Everyday Health, and The HealthCentral Network have high budgets for social media spend and because of that these companies are the leading online health related websites according to comScore. As more and more companies jump into the web 2.0 bandwagon, we will begin to see an increase in online social networking spend, especially if they decide to build one from the ground up.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Web 2.0: We’re Still Not There Yet with Pharma

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I came across this post earlier today on Just Search in which they mention that although many marketers have adopted social media efforts into their strategy, an industry that has generally stayed away from these efforts are pharmaceutical companies. Very rarely do we see pharma companies incorporating web 2.0 features like blogs, social networks, chat rooms, and forums into their websites. The post includes an excerpt from Brandweek in which they explain the reasoning behind this:

“Marketers fear that user-generated content will include complaints about injuries caused by their drugs’ side effects. The law requires these ‘adverse events’ to be reported to the FDA. The FDA’s adverse-event databases are regularly combed by lawyers looking for potential class-action suits.”

It’s only a matter of time before all pharma companies will jump on the web 2.0 bandwagon.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Social Media: Missing Opportunities for HealthCare Companies

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John Sharp brings up an interesting concept on this post at eHealth. I am sure you are all aware of how companies like Zappos and Comcast have used Twitter to respond to customer complaints, companies like Scripps creating Facebook identities, and other companies who have utilized YouTube. What’s particularly interesting about the companies that have pursued these social media opportunities is that none of them are pharma/healthcare companies. When will health care organizations join the growing trend of using these web 2.0 communication tools?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Top 10 Pharma sites according to comScore

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Over at Pharma 2.0, they recently listed the top 10 pharma sites according to comScore. What do you think of the list? Do any of the sites stand out to you for having an outstanding use of Web 2.0 tools?

They are:

Top 10 Pharmaceutical Brand Web Sites by Unique Visitors
Q2 2008 vs. Q2 2007
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations

  1. Nexium - 1,021,000 (up 55% from 2Q 2007)
  2. Actos - 855,000 (+2399%)
  3. Ambien CR - 756,000 (-61%)
  4. Gardasil - 722,000 (-21%)
  5. Lexapro - 549,000 (+3%)
  6. Veramyst - 538,000 (launched in 08)
  7. Januvia - 507,000 (+329%)
  8. Lyrica - 501,000 (+36%)
  9. Topamax - 498,000 (+38%)
  10. Seroquel - 447,000 (+24%)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pharma's fear of the web

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Pharma is not cashing in on the current social networking gold rush. Many sites don't have bulletin boards, chat rooms, or blogs that could be a gold mine for the marketers of those drugs. As this article at Brand Week reports, the marketers fear the backlash that might happen should those surfing the web report adverse effects of the drugs on the very webpage. In this event, they'll have to report the incident to the FDA, then lawyers will find them in order to cash in. As a result, the web pages remain one dimensional and stuck at Web 1.0.

Another valid point of this article is that there are two arguments coming at the marketers who have these web pages. There are digital agencies, who fight that customers pose fewer problems than marketers expect, an teh brand managers who have in-house lawyers who aren't acquainted with the internet. This has become a reoccurring problem throughout many agencies. The CEO of Heartbeat Digital, Bill Drummy, said this, “We’ve talked about this with our clients for literally five years and in every case that has been shot down by regulatory and legal folks."

What's the major setback for your company? Are you seeing that the legal department is holding up your entrance in to web 2.0? Or is it the lack of internet knowledge throughout your company?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Personal Genome Project on the Web

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Yesterday, Harvard Medical Professor of Genetics George Church, along with eight others, announced that he would be placing 1/5 of his DNA sequence on the internet. In effort to make the Personal Genome Project a success for both science and medical advance it. According to the Associated Press, the project was designed to serve as a resource for researchers investigating the genetic basis of diseases and other traits.

According to the Wall Street Journal, one participant, Steven Pinker had this to say about the project:

“There’s a hope that by making these data public, you can harness crowd-sourcing power in the same way that Wikipedia and YouTube and Google and Linux all emerged from cooperative, distributed efforts."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pharma goes to the iPhone

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Pharma 2.0 recently highlighted a new app for the iPhone. This one, specifically programmed for ophthalmologists has seven practical eye tests including: near visual acuity, Ishihara color test, Amsler grid, a powerful flash light tool, pupil gauge, target for fixation and Distance E.

What other practical apps have you seen for the iPhone for the medical related world?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Media Companies Beware, Pharma May Cut Ad Spending

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USA Today reports that the estimated $5 billion to be spent by Pharmaceutical companies on ads this year, could be wishful thinking on the part of media companies. In the aftermath of the Harvard Medical School Study that stated ads directed toward consumers were not seen as that effective, two more recent reports suggested that ad spending could be slashed. As the article states:

"TNS Media Intelligence puts the drop at 3.9% to $2.4 billion. Rival ad tracker Nielsen Monitor-Plus calculates the decline at 4.8% to $2.7 billion."

While the article specifically mentions magazines, TV, Radio, and newspapers, they failed to mention the online space. It will be interesting to see whether online advertising will be able to whether the storm.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Google Health Eases Accessibility

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John Sharp mentions in his latest post on eHealth that Google Health has added some new functionality to the site that will help patients even more. Google Health has made usability even more accessible to those who have poor vision by enabling text readers. This will work wonders for those currently looking to pull PHRs from other sources that do not offer this unique feature.

With the elections taking place soon, I’m sure that online PHRs and accessibility will play a major role in voter’s decisions.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Free Webinar Tomorrow: ePharma: Internet Trends and Usage in 2008 and Beyond

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Just a quick reminder to signup for the free webinar ePharma: Internet Trends and Usage in 2008 and Beyond presented by John Mangano of comScore. This webinar is being presented tomorrow Thursday October 16 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

The web seminar will take a comprehensive look at the latest internet trends and an in-depth look at how Pharma marketing has seen success using the internet to market. Internet trends discussed include: usage, growth, advertising and how the public uses it for health research. Pharma marketing topics will include the effects of online advertising and websites, as well as, its effects on prescriptions.

Register here:
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/831770879

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Online Pharma Advertising is a Success

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Online advertising works according to comScore. They reported that the most visited pharmaceutical websites for the second quarter of 2008, were brand websites that had focused on online marketing advertisemnts. AstraZeneca's Purplepill.com is a prime example as reported here. According to the article and John Mangano, senior director of comScore's Pharmaceutical Marketing Solutions practice,

"AstraZeneca's Purplepill.com, the Web site for heart treatment Nexium, had the most traffic for the quarter with more than one million unique visitors--an increase of 55% from the previous year. According to Mangano, AstraZeneca ran twice as much online display advertising in the second quarter as its competitors. "

It will be interesting to see how other companies adapt their strategies based on these findings.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Search Engine Marketing in Pharma

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Earlier today I came across this great presentation on Search Engine Marketing insights and trends in Pharma. Take a couple of minutes to flip through the slides as I’m sure you’ll find the content valuable. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

New ePharma Summit Website

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The newly redesigned ePharma Summit website has officially launched today! Make sure to browse through the site and take a look at this year’s speakers and track sessions. We’ve also uploaded several valuable presentations from last year’s event. The 8th Annual ePharma Summit will be held at the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing on February 9-11, 2009.

www.epharmasummit.com

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Physician Assistants can Network Too!

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Physician assistants and nurse assistants have become increasingly important as face-to-face times with doctors are decreasing by the day. PA’s and NA’s are many times responsible for prescribing drugs to patients, and so they must have readily available information about drugs and different treatments.

Browsing through the internet I came across this post on Pharmaceutical Executive that discusses the launch of Clinician 1, which is a social networking site targeted specifically to the 200,000 plus physician and nurse assistants across the fifty states. The site features information pages, areas for discussion, and medical education.

It will be interesting to see how this networking tool will be accepted in medical practices across the U.S., and if there is any potential for the platform to grow globally.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

ePharma: Internet Trends and Usage in 2008 and Beyond

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Just a quick reminder to signup for the free webinar ePharma: Internet Trends and Usage in 2008 and Beyond presented by John Mangano of comScore. This webinar is being presented next Thursday October 16 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

The web seminar will take a comprehensive look at the latest internet trends and an in-depth look at how Pharma marketing has seen success using the internet to market. Internet trends discussed include: usage, growth, advertising and how the public uses it for health research. Pharma marketing topics will include the effects of online advertising and websites, as well as, its effects on prescriptions.

Register here:
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/831770879

Monday, October 6, 2008

Google Health Podcast

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Browsing through the blogosphere I came across this post on ModernHealthCare in which reporter Rebecca Vesely speaks to Missy Krasner, who is the product marketing manager for Google Health. In this podcast, Kramer discusses the importance of provider partnerships, privacy concerns and where the personal health record sector is headed.

Take the time to listen to the podcast by clicking here.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Social networks work better in geographical regions?

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Dr. Uri Ginzberg at the Medical 2.0 blog recently wrote a posts about the increasing number of social networks for doctors. He believes the best ways for doctors to get running with the current social networks is to organize them by geographical region. He gave these two sites as examples for Canadian doctors: Sklepois and Canadian Medical Association. What do you think about organizing social networks for doctors geographically?

Top sources for medical information

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Melissa Davies recently wrote an article at Neilsen Online detailing the findings of a study that shows how users are using the web for medical information.

While people still consider doctors and other medical professionals their number one source for information, online resources number two. Participants said they usually turned to sources had content written professionally. They also go to the informational sites directly. It was also found that participants are more likely to use the web for medical information if participated in social networking.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Evernote: A new tool for doctors

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Recently at Healthline, Dr. Joshua Schwimmer wrote about a new online tool for doctors. Evernote is an online database tool especially for doctors. This new system allows for physicians to make their information, research or forms for patient care, searchable, taggable, and available in the electronic forms they need (on a computer, the web, or a smartphone).

Dr. Schwimmer points out that while it is completely electronic, it fails to meet the regulations of Hippa, and is therefore not certified. However, it can still be used for the productivity of doctors. Dr. Cris Cuthbertson published a list of 20 ways surgeions should be using Evernote. What do you think? Will this catch on in the United States?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Health 2.0 Spreading across the web

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We've seen the importance recently of health care adapting to the web. RN Central has a list of the top fifty Health 2.0 blogs. You can see the list here. What blogs stand out to you? A few that popped out at me while I was looking over the list were:

New Media Medicine -- A social media networking site where from New Zealand where doctors and med students share their opinions.

The Doctor Weighs In - Five physicians share post about medical topics.

MedGadget -- This blog talks about new technologies for the medical world, both online and in the hospital.

Monday, September 29, 2008

No rules of online advertising

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AdWeek took a look recently on the stipulations and rules the FDA has on drug advertising online. The article started by looking at an online game posted by Pfizer that promoted Viagra. They were forced to pull the game for the prescription drug after they received a warning letter from the FDA.

The majority of drug companies has hit a road block when it comes to advertising on the web, because there aren't specific regulations on what they can and can't do, however, there are consequences if they cross the invisible line. Which results in the majority of drug web pages having text-heavy descriptions on their websites, and they are unable to properly reach the people they're selling their drugs to.

AdWeek points out that there was a meeting in 1996 to establish rules for online advertising, but all efforts fizzled out. Is it time for the FDA to step up and issue rules? What do you think?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Media Solutions to Gain Physicians Ear

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This study by SK&A services found that "a quarter of all office-based physicians now require pharmaceutical or medical device sales representatives to make an appointment in order to see a physician" as reported by this press release. Also found is that sales calls last approximately only 1.5 minutes. Viscira, an interactive new media organization, may have a way for representatives to gain more of a physicians time by offering a new solution. As Dave Gulezian, CEO of Viscira, stated:

"Viscira develops interactive and engaging solutions that arm representatives with content that can help maximize the limited time they get with physicians, and result in greater delivery impact and message rententation."

As he also mentioned, "We are confident technology is a key ingredient in helping break through the boundaries placed by physician's access restrictions."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pharma’s Advertising Decline

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In a report from Neilsen as reported here, total advertising spending in the U.S. experienced a decline of 1.4%. One of the categories that experienced this downward turn was internet advertising which decreased by 6% while Cable TV, however, experienced a growth of 8.1%. It is important to note that these numbers are across all industries. Furthermore, as indicated by the chart at the bottom, from marketingcharts.com, of the top 10 product categories, the pharmaceutical industry had the second largest decrease in ad spending behind automotive. For the first half of 2007 the pharma industry spent approximately $2.73 billion, where as in 2008 that number was down to roughly $2.6 billion. It is interesting to note though, that these numbers exclude internet advertising. While traditionally, as we reported here, pharma companies are notorious for their low budgets in online advertisement, with the growth of web health sites such as The HealthCentral Network, it would be interesting to see if the industry has moved away from their traditional roots.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Top Online Health Websites

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As this article from MarketWatch reports, the leading online health related websites include WebMD, Everyday Health, and The HealthCentral Network, as determined by comScore. This data is based on each sites monthly unique visitors. Pharmaceutical companies should take note since these websites could prove to be great resources for online marketing campaigns especially in the case of The HealthCentral Network. As Christopher M. Schroeder, CEO of The HealthCentral Network observed:

“While having a large audience is important, The HealthCentral Network’s unique ability to attract the highest quality, most engaged health consumers is even more valuable for advertisers.”

Monday, September 22, 2008

Pharma and E-markets can be a bright future

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In a recent article at Future Pharmaceuticals, they discuss the current and future stages of the eMarket and what it can do for Pharma with Amy Chafin of Eli Lilly.

A few points that I found relevant were:
- We're seeing a huge increase in the budgets spent on these tools. It is very important that all money spend is directed towards filling the needs of the customer in the online market.
-It's also important to include larger third parties when embarking on a Web 2.0 stent. With the help of Medscape or Web MD, the value that's added to your venture is tremendous.
-It's hard to measure the value of these tools, however, you've got to measure your return on what your intentions are in the first place. You can look a the amount of interaction within your website, as well as the amount of engagement and how well people retain the message.

Read the rest of the article here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

ePharma Facebook group

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In our efforts to broaden community insights on everything related to pharma marketing in a web 2.0 world, we’ve created an ePharma Facebook Group. This group will be a place where individuals in the pharma industry can connect and create conversations with each other. Don’t forget to join us on LinkedIn as well.

Join the ePharma Facebook group: http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=26459318949

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ePharma: Internet Trends and Usage in 2008 and Beyond

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The second webinar in our series of ePharma Summit webinars “ePharma: Internet Trends and Usage in 2008 and Beyond” will be presented by John Mangano, Senior Director of comScore, Inc. on October 16th at 2:00 to 3:00 PM EDT. Save your webinar seat by registering now. If you missed the last ePharma Summit webinar “Utilization of a Multi-Channeled Messaging Platform to Improve Patient Adherence” you can view the archive here. Here’s a recap of John’s webinar:

A comprehensive look at the latest internet trends and an in-depth look at how Pharma marketing has seen success using the internet to market.

Internet trends discussed include: usage, growth, advertising and how the public uses it for health research. Pharma marketing topics will include the effects of online advertising and websites, as well as, its effects on prescriptions.

Don’t miss your chance to see this free webinar. Register by clicking on the following link:

https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/831770879

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Google Health on the iPhone?

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John Sharp brings up the interesting notion that there should be a personal cloud for managing health in this latest post on eHealth. Clouds have long been integrated into the iPhone, but not a health cloud. As health consumers become more tech savvy, there will be a need for Google Health to become available on the iPhone so that patients could access their health records at any given time. One thing is for sure, Google will have to establish a secure enough connection for consumers to feel comfortable accessing personal health information over the web.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Utilization of a Multi-Channeled Messaging Platform to Improve Patient Adherence”

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If you missed Thursday’s webinar “Utilization of a Multi-Channeled Messaging Platform to Improve Patient Adherence” presented by Robert Nauman of BioPharma Advisors here’s your chance to view it at your own leisure. This presentation generated a lot of good feedback so take the time out to view it, I’m sure you’ll find the content valuable.

View the Archive: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/425501142

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pharma could shed negative image if they get involved in Web 2.0

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In recent article published by Ad Week, they take a look at the current image of big Pharma companies. Big Pharma has a notoriously bad image in today’s society. Part of the article encourages Pharma companies to embrace the new digital age. Since the public often sees the companies as hiding and covering up actions, if they became involved in the Web 2.0 tools, people would get to know Pharma companies.

Loreen Babcock, the CEO an Chairman of the Unit 7, a New York based company who specializes in relationship marketing particularly dealing with these types of companies had this to say about what the involvement would do for their image.

“The content is existing videos in which J&J already had an investment. So that's interesting-creative reuse of an existing and costly resource This effort leverages the fact that consumers trust other consumers more than company spokespersons, and it also tips a hat to the 'wisdom of crowds' ethos.”

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Most Powerful People in Healthcare

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The latest edition of 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare, seems to be indicative of the trend that is sweeping the pharmaceutical industry: entry into the online marketing space. As we have reported in the past online pharmaceutical marketing has been scant, however, if the people who voted for the 2008 edition of top 100 have anything to say about it, this will be changing. This years top 3 include: Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and CEO of Revolution Health Group, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, and Bill Gates, Chairman for Microsoft. As this article reports:

"most people in healthcare no longer see IT as just a product of wishful thinking but a real and viable solution that will help ensure the long-term success of the healthcare industry."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hello Health open for business

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As Health 2.0 pointed out, Hello Health recently opened for business. The basic $35 monthly fee opens up the world of online health care to any patient who signs up. Jay Parkinson, the director, makes sure you can attend medical appointments online or off, only at your convenience. This online health system allows you to communicate with your doctor in three ways: online, phone calls or visit them in the office. The flexible online system allows you to email, IM, text, and video chat, all at varying fees for each communication.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Heartbeat Digital: A Google AdWords Qualified Company

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Heartbeat Digital has a new accolade to add to the company’s accomplishments, they are officially a Google AdWords Qualified Company, as reported here in MarketWatch. To qualify for this title, they had to pass Google’s Advertising Professionals exam, as well as show “mastery of Google’s advertising capabilities.” To qualify to take the exam, media planners for Heartbeat, Krystina Galtieri, and Justin Fontany, first became Qualified Individuals for the Google Advertising Professionals program.

This is nice to know for pharmaceutical organizations since Heartbeat works specifically in the pharmaceutical, consumer products, and travel industries. In addiction, their specialty is in finding sales and marketing solutions. Media Director for Hearbeat, Lee Slovitt, released this statement regarding their latest accolade:

"I've always been confident in Heartbeat's media capabilities, but it's very satisfying to receive this confirmation from Google. It means that brand managers can be confident that their brands' online media campaigns are in capable, qualified hands."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Prevent Your Online Community from Failing

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Fard Johnmar discusses in this post on Healthcare Vox that most online communities launched are failing. He cites Ben Worthen, the author of this post “Why Most Online Communities Fail”on the Wall Street Journal blog when he mentions:

“Businesses launching online communities repeat a series of blunders. First, they have a tendency to get seduced by bells and whistles and blow their online-community budget on technology. Moran suggests that businesses spend resources identifying and reaching out to potential community members instead of investing in software that makes predictions, or even social-networking technology.”

What are some other ways that the pharma industry can avoid their social communities from turning into virtual ghost towns?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Acuminder brings Pharma to Facebook

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Johnson and Johnson is getting Web 2.0 in the Pharma world. Not only do they have a YouTube station and a blog, but now they’re reaching out even farther. In a recent news release, we find out that they’ve released an application for Facebook to encourage consumers into keeping their contacts fresh and that they change them on time. Participants with the application can now receive Facebook reminders to change their contacts either via the News Feed or email. To expand even farther, the application, called Acuminder™ can be set up to provide other reminders as well, such as doctor’s appointments or anything else that may be placed on a calendar.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Direct-to-Consumer Marketing May Lack Value

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This new study released states that the Value Of Direct-to-consumer Drug Advertising Oversold. This means that it maybe even more imperative for drug companies to take advantage of marketing to physicians using tools such as ones listed in this previous post from us. As the study reveals, direct-to-consumer marketing may not be effective or produce enough ROI to be worthwhile. This article quotes Stephen Soumerai, a Harvard Medical professor who was the principle investigator for this study, as saying

"People tend to think that if direct-to-consumer advertising wasn't effective, pharma wouldn't be doing it. But as it turns out, decisions to market directly to consumers is based on scant data."

As we have also remarked before, pharmaceutical companies spend about 63% of their budget on TV advertising while only spending approximately 3.1% of their budget on Internet advertising. With these new results, it will be interesting to see if there will be a shift in budget allocation for pharmaceutical organizations.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google Knol for the Pharma Industry

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Are the authorative articles listed on Google Knol more than just spam? Cyndy Aleo-Carreira seems to think that Knol has a lot of work to do in order to become a credible source of information in this latest post on The Industry Standard.

The problem is that a lot of articles on Knol, can be found all throughout the web. Cyndy gives an example of how a simple search for gastroesophageal reflux disease came up with an article listed on Knol with a rating of five stars. It also came up with text that is virtually identical from two other sites as well. If Knol wants to be taken seriously in the pharma industry it must stop showing duplicate texts in its search results.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pharma Search Engines

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I came across John Sharp’s latest post on eHealth and it brings up the question, are pharma companies and physicians taking full advantage of these technology based search engines? John links over to this post on ReadWriteWeb where they describe three new, unique search engines that are changing the way we search today.

Viewzi, Rollyo, and SearchMe all have unique features, but they all seem to have 3D cloud views which give users a preview of what is on the site. There are clearly many advantages of giving users a visual view of search terms such as ‘heart disease’ and ‘cancer’ and also showing the latest news highlights. What are some other search engines pharma vendors and physicians can utilize?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Podcast with America Well

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In June, we wrote an article about the growing number of physician’s services available on the internet. America Well is among one of the services that we mentioned. I recently came across this podcast at the Health Business Blog. David E. Williams took time to discuss what America Well is doing for health online with the CEO of America Well, Dr. Roy Schoenberg. What are the values you see in a company like America Well?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Top Product Sites Visited by Physicians

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As this article from Market Watch states, Manhattan Research recently released a report of the top product sites visited by physicians. These include: Januvia, Actos, Chantix, Gardasil, Actonel, Vytorin, Amitiza, Byetta, Avandia, and Aciphex. Of these top sites the most visited by primary care physicians include the Diabetes brand treatment sites: Januvia, Actos, Byetta, and Avandia. Meredith Ressi, VP of Research at Manhattan Research made this important statement regarding the findings:

"This year's rankings show that market events, rather than just advertising alone, can be critical drivers to brand websites. Pharmaceutical companies need to ensure that brand websites contain the latest, most accurate content possible and can be found relatively easily by physicians using search engines to research pharmaceutical information."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Utilization of a Multi-Channeled Messaging Platform to Improve Patient Adherence

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The team at ePharma Summit have put together a free webinar on Thursday, September 11, 2008 from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT. It will be presented by Robert Nauman, Principal of BioPharma Advisors, and Jonathon Katz, Principal of CCS. Make sure to register for the free webinar and mention priority code G1P1406W1BL to save your seat. Here’s a recap of the presentation:

The pressures for marketers to come up with new and innovative marketing techniques to reach patients on their brand remain a large challenge. While the web and technology have continued to advance, life science companies seem to continue to struggle with the adoption of scalable technologic solutions. With so much focus on ROI & Senior Management endorsement in a risk free regulatory environment, many marketers and their suppliers loss perspective on the real goals-Driving patient adherence!

This webinar will describe some work being done in a multi-disciplinary, multi-channel approach designed to coordinate Cardiologists, other healthcare providers and technology companies to help solve the scale problem with these types of programs. In fact, the Total Cost of Operation is projected to be less than $7.50/patient per month in years 2-5 of the program

But these types of programs have often failed because of the dynamic changes every 18 months in the industry. We will not only discuss this approach but how to sustain this approach for a longer period of time, and produce results that demonstrate real value to all the parties involved.

What you will learn by attending

  • How to overcome the scalability issue of most technology implementations
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages to use text messaging in the US healthcare market
  • Understand the role the physician plays in the adherence equation, and how to minimize their initial operational challenges to being a part of the program
  • How to maintain energy and Senior Management support for a longer term initiative
  • Why the Pharma Marketing model must change and leverage technology.

Click on the link below to register for this complimentary webinar.

https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/425501142

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Statistics of patients using the internet for medical research

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In a recent study collected by the Pew Internet Project, detailed here at The Health Care Blog, they find that 75% of internet users search online for medical information between October and December of 2007. It was also found that 10% of surfers look at health data on a daily basis.

Here are some more of the demographics determined:

- 68% of online men look online for health info
- 81% of online women
- 76% of white internet users
- 65% of African-American internet users
- 71% of English-speaking Hispanic internet users (new health data on the whole Latino population is coming out August 13 from the Pew Hispanic Center)
- 68% of 18-29 year-old internet users
- 78% of 30-49s
- 76% of 50-64s
- 71% of internet users age 65+ (but remember, only one-third of seniors go online at all)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Physicians use of Internet Expected to Increase

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In a recent study released by Manhattan Research, as reported in this article, physicians have stated that they plan to start increasing their use of online tools as opposed to their currently utilized “offline professional resources”. Latest reports show that physicians today use the internet for 41% of their research. That number is expected to climb to 50% very soon. The implication this has for pharmaceutical companies was mentioned by Mark Bard, Manhattan Research President:

"This trend could prove to be an opportunity for smaller and targeted specialty pharmaceutical and biotech companies to gain ground on larger competitors in physician reach and market share through cost effective digital sales and marketing support strategies. Digital channels have leveled the playing field in many industries, giving sales and marketing groups the chance to make a big impact even with limited -- yet targeted -- resources."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Pharma eMarket

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Marketing in the pharmaceutical industry is slowly moving away from traditional media such as direct mail, advertising, and door to door marketing, and are slowly evolving to community based approaches which involves social networking, blogs, wikis, and podcasts. This post on Pharmaceutical Executive discuses how social pharma sites like Sermo can provide a higher ROI by focusing on the effectiveness utilizing communities.

Open access pharma journals not only give physicians and consumers a reason to visit the site over and over because of updated content, but it also has a higher Google ‘PageRank’ which ensures the top spots on search results. Print journals offer a limited range of advertising options and normally charge by the page whereas online advertising offers much more variety. Using online ads, marketers can reach a more niche audience using banner ads, search oriented text ads, sponsored emails, and video banners.

Online communities have taken off in the healthcare industry in the US. A recent survey conducted by Jupiter Research shows that 75% of pharmaceutical, medical devices and healthcare manufacturers increased their online budgets in 2007. It will be exciting to see how this increase in budget will affect pharma online marketing presence.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lend 4 health: Helping families through donations

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Lend4health is a blog that’s looking to find families affected with autism a way to help them pay their medical bills now. According to ABC News, Tori Tuncan started this blog to help make up for the money insurance companies wouldn’t pay for treatments for autistic children.

First, parents submit pictures, bios, what kind of treatment the child will need and the cost not covered by the insurers. Visitors to the site then donate their money to a PayPal account supported by Tuncan. She then sends the payments directly to the treatment centers. All of the money given is loans, and those families receiving the payments are expected to reimburse their donors.

Within the past six weeks of the website, families have received $3180. We’ve seen online communities connect patients to other patients. Now we’re seeing a new type of community that solves a current medical crisis: the costs of treatments far outweigh what most people can pay. By creating a system of loaning from individual to individual, we’re seeing a new type of online medical community develop.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sales of Pharmaceutical Medications

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As this article reports, results from the recent national Physician Engagement study by PeopleMetrics Rx, have revealed that

"emotional components such as friendship with the reps are the strongest indicators of fully engaged physicians." In this context, the phrase "fully engaged" is one that means "very likely to prescribe."

This translates into meaning that pharmaceutical sales reps that have developed closer relationships with doctors will note that the physicians are prescribing those specific medications on a more frequent basis. Participants in this study include the pharmaceutical companies of AstraZeneca, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Janssen, Eli Lilly, and Pfizer. Also included were 500 psychiatrists, and primary care physicians who were responsible for prescribing atypical antipsychotic medications on a consistent basis.

While some may contest the morality of these findings, it does show the potential usefulness of social networking sites with respect to online pharmaceutical marketing initiatives.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Online Ratings Systems for Doctors

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In a recent article at The Atlanta Journal Constitution Journal, they discuss one of the many new online trends the medical world is facing today – doctors’ ratings systems online. Websites have begun to spring up that allow patients to comment on their experience with different doctors, such as RateMDs.com, Vitals.com, and DrScore.com. Even insurance companies are jumping into the mix, with Zagat teaming up with WellPiont, Inc to provide Blue Cross members a place to converse about their doctors.

While this is good for some patients, doctors are seeing one bad review hurt their medical practices. Dr. Richard Fischel says that after a patient decided his life was ruined after a surgery, the patient then posted negative reviews online that resulted in monetary loss for the doctor, as well as suffering emotionally.

So what’s going to be the overall result of being able to rate doctors online? After years of training and school, if a doctor is negatively talked about online, will this harm their business? In one case, we’ve seen yes. What do you think?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Changing Channels

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Researching the web I came across this article “Changing Channels” from Deborah Dick-Rath in which she looks at how social networks have opened up more avenues for healthcare and pharmaceutical marketers to reach patients and physicians.

Deborah mentions one reason why social networks are great communication vehicles. It provides a site where healthcare marketers can support and exchange ideas and information. Companies like Merck have already embraced social networking groups like Facebook. Its Gardasil group contains more than 50,000 people, and it uses surveys, stories, and banners to promote information about the product over the social networking site.

Blogging is another channel Deborah discusses in this article. She gives an example of how Johnson & Johnson has implemented a corporate blog that is both positive and informative. The company encourages open dialogue between customers based on truthfulness and honesty.

With the increasing popularity of smartphones, healthcare marketers will also find new ways of reaching this demographic by creating tailored mobile apps. There are already several services out there which have already gone mobile. Epocrates launched a service which allows doctors to access a continuing medical education program when they are traveling. Physician’s Desk Reference has also released a similar mobile app.

Deborah does a great job of detailing the various channels of social media that healthcare companies are now beginning to embrace. Read the PDF of the article here.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Pharmaceutical Industry Legal Liability with Social Media

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E-Centric recently conversed with Harold Corban Jr. COO of DraftFCB Healthcare, and Mike Brzozowski also from DraftFCB, to ascertain their views on trends for healthcare and social marketing. This post provides a transcript from that interview. Some of the main takeaways include:

- Pharmaceutical companies find it difficult to enter into the social media space as a result of stringent FDA regulations on “corporate sponsor initiatives”

- Consumers are “initiating conversations online”, however pharma companies are reluctant to enter due to potential liability issues

- There are some ways for pharma companies to interact in the online space through networks such as Sermo, where they can feel comfortable to “query physicians through surveys about their feelings on a particular topic” since it is quite “transparent”

What are your opinions on reasons why pharma companies are lagging behind other industries in terms of utilizing online social media?