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.

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,, and 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?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

CDC Dives into Videos

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Recently, we informed you that the CDC was beginning to join the Web 2.0 world through adding widgets and e-cards to their website. As pointed out by the Pharma News and Resources blog, they have followed Johnson and Johnson and the FDA into the world of videos. The difference is the video source. The CDC is not utilizing YouTube, but instead its own website. CDC TV has five videos that reach out to their audience to inform them about children’s eating habits to preparing for emergency health threats.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tracking Online Marketing for Pharmaceutical Companies

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This report from Pharma Live, announces that TGaS Advisors, a benchmarking company, has risen to the challenge of creating an effective tool for analyzing the “effectiveness and impact of a pharmaceutical company’s online marketing investment.” They are releasing a fact based “Internet Performance Benchmark”. In a statement released by Steve Gerart, TGaS Advisors, Managing Partner,

“Pharma companies typically have several different agencies marketing their brands, each with their own online programs, sometimes combined with in-house e-groups. Marketers need a way to gauge the overall effectiveness of their online investment, analyze the spend and manage the enormous potential of these new tactics as effectively as possible. We developed the Internet Performance Benchmark to give senior managers a unique, unbiased, outside-in perspective, so they can see key metrics across all Internet program elements at a glance, benchmarked against similar pharma brands and programs and trended over time.

As we have posted before, Pharmaceutical companies are behind other industries in terms of utilizing the web for marketing. Perhaps, with this new tool, pharmaceutical companies will be better able to manage their marketing efforts and determine better ways to leverage their allocated budget. It will be interesting to see if this new tool will result in more spend for online advertising in this industry.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

inVentiv Health Acquires Patient Marketing Group

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PrimeNewswire reports in this latest article that inVentiv Health, Inc. has agreed to acquire Patient Marketing Group (PMG) which specializes in patient relationship marketing. PMG will work directly with the inVentiv Patient Outcomes, which develop programs to increase efficiency of communication between physicians, healthcare providers, pharmacists, and patients.

Patient Marketing Groups holds over 18 years of experience in building and advocating relationships in the pharma industry, which includes online promotions as well as building interactive tools. PMG’s goal will be to help connect patients and help them understand their conditions.

Monday, August 4, 2008

CollabRX connects patients to research

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In a recent article at The Health Care Blog, they inform us of CollabRX, an online collaboration center founded by Jay M. Tenenbaum. He had found many patient support systems, but they lacked a central focus of collaboration that needed to happen for better research. This new system connects patients to new treatments and therapies through patient funded research. At CollabRX, the patients are connected to a project manager who develops a research strategy and then works with the patients as the research follows for new treatments.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Web 2.0 in the Medical Industry

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It is really important for pharmaceutical companies to keep up with the current trends linking them to Web 2.0 tools. These are new platforms that many feel will be excellent future marketing tools. This slideshare presentation provides an informative view on the role that Web 2.0 plays in the medical industry, specifically in terms of clinical research. After reviewing the slides, let us know what your thoughts are about the implications this could have further down the road for pharmaceutical marketing. Enjoy!