Monday, June 23, 2014

Clinical Researchers Proceeding with Caution on Social Media

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This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz 

The use of social media in the pharma industry got some extra attention this week as the FDA released a set of draft guidances on the use of social.  While many point to this as a reason to believe social will begin to gain prominence in pharma marketing, Tufts recently released a study that highlighted the guarded approach that many clinical researchers are currently utilizing. 

The report found that while many of these companies have guidelines in place surrounding social, it’s currently only being used on about 11% of clinical trials for recruitment.  However, according to the report, many sponsors plan to expand their use of social in global recruitment over the next 12-18 months. 

In addition, only about 20% of companies who say they are using social are doing so in a way in which interact directly with patients.  In terms of engaging patients, the majority are “using social” in other ways such as placing banner ads on social sites. 

Clinical Research Social Media FDA
Where can social help clinical trials?
Engagement isn't the only way these companies are reporting leveraging social.  Many are using it as a vehicle to distribute information as well as for “social listening” purposes.  The report cited social listening as one of the areas getting an increasing amount of attention; however, few sponsors have a formal plan in place for collecting and leveraging that information. 

Of the twenty companies participating in the survey, none of them are currently using social for protocol design.  Interestingly enough, nearly all indicated that input from social media communities has the potential to greatly improve the feedback they receive on program planning and design feasibility. 


The FDA’s new guidelines on social are being rolled out.  What does that mean for your marketing campaign?  Get the scoop right from the FDA’s own Mark Roh at this year’s ePharma West. Join us September 22-24 in San Francisco. Check out the agenda to see what’s on tap.

Save $100 as a reader of this blog. Register now and use code XP1956BLOG. 

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