DigiPharm 2009 – Interview with Jamie Heywood (PatientsLikeMe)

As promised hereby our first video interview we made on DigiPharm 2009. In this episode we talk to Jamie Heywood, Co-Founder and Chairman of the impressive community PatientsLikeMe. About his motivations, the community, the relationship with Big Pharma and much more.

Pharma on the Move – DigiPharm 2009

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Rules, Compliance, Regulatory Affairs… There are many reasons why Big Pharma should not engage in Social Media. But apparently the Web 2.0 fever has hit hard in Pharma Marketing as well, since most, if not all congresses deal with this subject. And rightly so, since the change in behavioral patterns of patients and Health Care Professionals (HCP) are profound and can not be neglected anymore.

DigiPharm 2009 was such a congress, organized by Health Network Communications in London, from September 22 till 25. We were invited to present as well, so off we went to the capital of Great Britain. The event started on Tuesday with an interactive preconference workshop (“European Regulatory Strategies for Digital Marketing”), followed by the two day congress and finished off with a postconference workshop (“Strategies for Successful Marketing to the Digital Healthcare Community”). The workshops were attended by about 20 people, the conference approx. 85 people (excluding 15 speakers). A pretty high number I must say, given the time we’re in now (and also related to the various -rather aggressive- phone calls I got to participate in congresses). In this blogpost I will focus on the conference itself.

Digital Media, Social Media and Regulations
With more than 20 sessions it was a full program. It’s important thought to realize that one should make a clear distinction between Digital Media Marketing and Social Media Marketing. The latter, in our view, is about a dialogue, being transparent and authentic, and let the customer (be it a patient or HCP) in the driver’s seat. Digital Media could be an eDetailing without any ‘social stuff’ around it. It’s more a one way communication, rather than a dialogue. Although the importance of Social Media is now fully recognized, still Digital Media plays an important role in the communication strategy of many companies. Four years ago on a similar congress we concluded that Pharma is by far not ready yet because all presentations were about Digital Media (eDetailing, nice Flash sites). This time, at least half of the presentations were dealing with Social Media aspects within the communication mix.

The congress kicked-off by a presentation of Isabel Silva, Director Global eMarketing from Merck, who took us through the landscape of digital media and the new reality pharma is facing. She was focussing on the opportunities rather than the threats and stated that a “Digital environment could be the way that Pharma business can reinvent itself….to create an open dialogue with customers”. Easier said than done, was the common denominator in the audience. And what about regulations? Don’t they stop us at every digital initiative we deploy? “Not true”, said Heather Simmonds, Director of the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA, making ‘the Code’). “Of course there are rules to follow, like there have always been, and will be. But within those rules there is a lot possible. Clause 24 deals with the internet and in our Code of Practice Review Number 53 we even have an article about blogging for example”. “Let us know what you want and we’ll come back with a position”, she advised the audience. She went through a whole list of social/new/digital media tools and elaborated on the fly. She even discussed Wikipedia, which she had personally visited only once….

Hey! Somebody is interviewing US - for a change...

Hey! WE are being interviewed - for a change...

Multi-Channel
So if their are possibilities, we might consider using a multi-channel approach towards pharma marketing. Paul Dixey from BlueLight Partners states very clearly in one of his slides: “The Push Model doesn’t work anymore”, according to Paul. Too many changes which result in a more informed person on the other end of the deal. He identifies 5 main areas to deal with when implementing new channel approaches: Speed (pharma is not known for its speed), Knowledge (which company will have the best, up-to-date knowledge), Processes (can you handle to change your processes?), Resources (will you have sufficient resources to implement new and innovative channel approaches?) and finally Culture (is your culture open to change?). Paul suggests Multi-Channel Directors as a new function within pharma, preferably “empowered” according to Steve Jadhav from Astellas, who gave a presentation on team efforts in relation to successful campaign management.

Communities in pharma

Communities are no doubt one of the hottest things since Kotler came up with his 4 P’s, but most companies have trouble either

Yep, that's me, speednetworking

Yep, that's me, speednetworking

understanding, building or monetizing them (or all three). The same goes for Big Pharma, where legislation offers yet another potential deal breaker. So are there any success stories? May be there are. Hospira, a global specialty pharma and medication delivery company developed ‘Haemanet.com‘, a platform for hematologists to share knowledge on their profession and thus improving treatment in all hematological-related diseases. “For hematologists, the current communication methods are not ideal”, says Joseph Talanges Jr, Marketing Director at Hospira EMEA. “Journals reach a wide audience but yet the response to comments is slow, sometimes a few months. E-mail is quick, but it’s limited to what you know and is mostly a one to one communication. Congresses happen only ever so often and their only a few websites available”. I would say this is not only the case for hematologists, by the way. Haemanet jumps into this gap by offering a global, 24/7 expert platform. So far so good, because since June they have about 233 registered users from 55 different nationalities. Mind you, this is an expert community, so the absolute numbers are low.

A community from a different type and size is PatientsLikeMe. This patient-driven community collects and shares experiences of patients with certain life-changing diseases (ALS, fybromyalgia, HIV/AIDS, MS, Parkinson, etc). “The first real patient-centered management system”, in the words of co-founder Jamie Heywood who gave a vivid presentation at DigiPharm. “The ability to connect with others, the ability to understand the impact of treatments of the disease is an insight which was surprisingly absent

Jamie Heywood - from PatienstLikeMe

Jamie Heywood - from PatienstLikeMe

in online healthcare”, he continued in our interview we had with him. He started together with his brother and an old friend from MIT in 2004, after his other brother was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). “We had so much advantage in managing his disease because all the people we knew, we wanted to hand that over to other people”, Jamie said. And it certainly is an advantage, given the 50,000 members and 10% monthly growth of the platform. Growth which didn’t go unnoticed by pharma companies, such as UCB Pharma which recently partnered with PatientsLikeMe. So what’s in it for them? Jamie: “For them it’s a way to truly understanding the disease (epilepsy – EZ) and giving patients a tool that reflects their commitment”. Interestingly Jamie was clear in his message to the audience: “Patients who’s life is at stake want to hear from the pharma industry. They feel better knowing that Big Pharma is listening to them, working on their disease”.

Let’s tweet!
A clear message from Jamie, and pharma companies are looking for tools to open up these communication possibilities with patients. Take Twitter, for example. The ‘Social Media Darling’ of 2009. With a stunning growth of 1,382% earlier this year Twitter seems to be unstoppable as the new tool for some forms of communication. I say ‘some forms’, because 140 characters

Tweeting away!

Tweeting away!

seems to be a bit short for your company’s brochure or CEO’s shareholders preso (though in many cases the latter one would be better if it would fit 140 characters). Although used in many conference (such as this one, see the Twitter feed here) more and more pharma companies starting to explore the possibilities of this platform. “Novartis, Boehringer and J&J belong to the top 3”, according to John Pugh, PR responsible for social media at Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH and together with Shwen Gwee crowned ‘Twitter kings of pharma’. So what do they tweet? “Headlines linking to approved press releases, links to digital resources and relevant media articles, dialogues, questions and answers”. And there it becomes tricky. What can you say in your answer, and what can you certainly not say?

Since it was time to get some answers from the audience, we decided to do just that during our 30 Minutes of Fame. No presentation, just debating on 4 statements. See our previous blogpost for more information. In the near future we will be diving much deeper into the outcome of our little survey.

In conclusion
Overall we went home with a positive feeling. Of course, still many things to do in order to go home with an absolute Wow-feeling (for example, don’t let the conference just fade-out but end with a big bang, a presenter which people won’t forget) but I think DigiPharm 2009 was worthwhile attending. Good venue, good program, professionally organized and great line-up of speakers (duh! ;-)). We see a clear shift in the audience towards a more open and transparent way of communicating with their customers. Also authorities seem to understand the changing landscape, although I have the feeling that a lot of education still needs to take place. Not only at the level of the authorities, but also within the pharma companies. “We are preaching to the converted” was said many times during the congres. And in a way true, I guess. Despite some great initiatives shown to us by the various speakers, how many of us went back to the office, switched on their computers (IE6, no doubt), made their traveling report and dove into the hundreds of e-mails awaiting? Before you know it DigiPharm has become a nice memory, with hopefully some LinkedIn and/or Facebook connections. Who is going to make a difference? How are we going to organize ourselves to take pharma marketing into the 21st century?

We have interviewed Paul Dixey, Jamie Heywood and John Pugh. Stay tuned for these video interviews. Also, once the organization of DigiPharm has released the video of our presentation we will of course share this.

Let’s vote – Power to the People at DigiPharm

Let's vote at DigiPharm

We thought, let’s do things different. And so we did. During our presentation at DigiPharm 2009 we used our slot to interact with the audience. After 1,5 day of talking about the (im)possibilities of Social Media for Pharma, sharing Best practices, visions of the future and panel discussions we thought that it was time to measure the opinion of the participants. Because, as James Heywood (patientslikeme) said on day one: “The pharma industry is the only health care stakeholder that really cares, because they measure”. OK, we thought, if that’s the case, let’s measure. Or, in our own words, let’s opinionate.

Before our exercise started, every participant was given a green and a red voting card (an analogue voting system symbolizing pharma’s current position in the evolutionary ladder of Social Media). We presented 4 statements. For each statement we gave a pro and contra argument after which the audience entered the discussion, giving their support to either of the two positions. Finally, the discussion on each statement was closed by a vote. Those who agreed raised the green card, those who disagreed the red.

And here are the results:

Statement 1: In 3 years Twitter will have become a valuable communication tool for pharma

Stelling 1

Statement 2: In the near future pharma regulations will become more flexible, which will help Web 2.0 initiatives

Stelling 2

Statement 3: Implementation of Web 2.0 tools in pharma will have a positive effect on the reputation of pharma in society

Stelling 3

Statement 4: Using Web 2.0 tools internally will spur innovation within pharma companies

Stelling 4

Interesting results. In our following blog-posts we will elaborate more on each of these statements. We will share some of the responses from the audience and will give our own opinion.

We would like to thank all the delegates of DigiPharm for their co-operation in this ‘ad-hoc research’. Stay tuned, there’s more to come.

First day Digipharm took off like a rocket

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Being in London is always fun, but this time it’s pretty educational as well. The first day of the Digipharm congress can be classified as ‘successful’ in our opinion. Pretty good speakers, good venue, live Twitter feed on stage, video recording and speed networking possibilities (it’s amazing what a red and green envelope can do to open up the conversation).

As far as speakers is concerned, we were pretty impressed by the presentation of James Heywood, co-founer and chairman of Patientslikeme, a community for people with specific diseases, a huge help for these patients and a tremendous repository of data to compare. Yet another intruiging preso came from Joseph Talanges from Hospira, who has built a community for health care professionals with an interest in haematological malignancies, Heamanet.com. We will be interviewing both speakers, so stay tuned for more info.

Tomorrow we’ll be presenting our case: Pharma and social media: the Garden of Eden or the beginning of the end? Check this blog tomorrow to know the opinion of the audience about social media in pharma. Let the voting begin!

Off we go to London – DigiPharm 2009

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It has been a while since my last blogpost. Shame on myself, letting the community down. All perfectly explainable, yet unforgivable. I hope to make it up to you in the next few weeks, which seems to become very exciting for us. As written earlier, still three weeks off from our Grande Tour de US. But first London…

DigiPharm 2009 is a pharma marketing congress organized by Health Network Communication and “is one of the largest gatherings of pharmaceutical marketing and communications professionals in Europe. It will discuss the challenges and strategies used to enhance online communication, customer relationship, strengthen brand awareness and improve profitability in digital marketing”.

With two days of conference and a pre- and post conference day the stage is set for four days being Sponge-Bob-on-the-first-row-sucking-all-info-into-our-brains. But hey, we got our moment too! On Thursday we will present the audience our preso entitled: Pharma and social media: the Garden of Eden or the beginning of the end?.

  • Is social media really the holy grail of marketing in pharma, or just a new term marketers like to talk about at birthday parties?
  • Is our audience getting smarter with all these new
  • technologies or losing their mind while multi-tasking?
  • Is blogging the answer to obtaining transparency, or just an expression of complacency

We won’t do the ‘standard’ preso but have been cooking on something new. Of course we will be covering the event by video interviews as well, so keep an eye on this blog for more info soon!

Our article in Pharma Marketing News

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John Mack is (aka pharmaguy on Twitter) is a ‘Pharma Pundit & Publisher of Pharma Marketing News’, according to his Twitter Bio. He runs a successful blog named ‘Pharma Marketing Blog‘ and a podcast with the same name on BlogTalk Radio. In addition to that he’s publisher and executive editor of the monthly newsletter ‘Pharma Marketing News’, distributed to the pharma world.

Pharma Marketing News is an independent, free monthly electronic newsletter focused on issues of importance to pharmaceutical marketing executives. It is a service of the Pharma Marketing Network, which brings together pharmaceutical marketing professionals from manufacturers, communications companies, and marketing service providers for wide ranging discussions and education on a multitude of current topics.

After reading our blogpost on the EXL Digital Pharma congress John contacted me to ask whether he could publish this post in his monthy newsletter.

Of course you can John, of course…

Click here to download the article from the April issue of Pharma Marketing News.

Final video of Digital Pharma: The Impression

We don’t seem to get enough of that video thingie during the Digital Pharma Congress in Barcelona. This time it’s the impression of the congress itself. Check it out…

 

First two videos of my presentation at Digital Pharma

Found myself some time to make my ‘SteveNote’ way of my presentation given at Digital Pharma in Barcelona last month. For a detailed report on the event, see here.

I have split my presentation (Best Practices for the Use of Web 2.0 and Social Media Tools for Internal Collaboration) in three parts:

Part 1: The Need for Innovation in Pharma
Part 2: Social Media and Internal Collaboration
Part 3: Best Practices Using Web 2.0 and Internal Collaboration

In this blogpost the first two episodes (it was late, so the third one coming up asap).

Digital Pharma Congress 2009- Socially Challenged Pharma

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We all know Social Marketing is the Next Big Thing. Or at least, that’s what we are all saying to each other. Making each other believe that the era of the 4/5/6 P’s is finally over. And of course Big Pharma can not stay behind forever. In a relatively short period the content of pharma congresses has changed dramatically. Two years ago a typical pharma marketing congress dealt with eDetailing, brand management and CRM systems. Now it’s about communities, Twitter, authenticity and transparency. Finally.

 

 

It was the first attempt for EXL Pharma to enter the ‘Old World’ with their Digital Pharma congress. Already an established event in the States, they now found the time right to see whether the Europeans are like-minded in the exciting area of new/social/digital media in pharma. And it seems that they are not the only one, by the way. This year alone we have been contacted by two other congress organizations which are planning to enter this space as well. It’s an interesting area to be in right now, especially when you have a story to tell.

We just returned from Barcelona (raining for two days, bummer!) and we look back to -in our view- a succesful first event organized by EXL. Of course not all things were perfect, it usually isn’t – especially when you do it for the first time. But I have to admit that Jason Youner and Bryan Main did a good job in pulling this thing off. Kudos go to them.

Now, let’s dive a bit into the program. I won’t cover all presentations, only the ones which were truly remarkable for me. For the Twitter feed with all tweets during the conference I refer to the EXL website with the Cover It Live feed (or search Twitter with #digitalpharma)

Old skool
EXL’s Digital Pharma Europe was organized in Barcelona on March 30 and 31. See for the full program here. The morning of the first day was reserved for a workshop entitled ‘Successfully integrating Digital Media into the Overall Marketing Mix’. Sam Trujillo, Director of Marketing Women’s Health explained in a three hour session the view of Bayer Schering on the way to engage with digital media in the marketing mix. Apart from the fact that a workshop usually involves ‘working’ and we didn’t do more than just listening, I did not find his story appealing and at it’s place at this event. His story was mainly focussing on digital media (fair enough) but it looked like the process he was presenting very much described the traditional approach of pharma companies using media: to stay in control. Seriously, I just do not think that putting your commercials on YouTube will generate a lot of traffic towards your channels. Who on earth is going to watch voluntarely a commercial of a pharma company, including the usual fair balance BS? It’s just not the channel for that.

The rest of the day was reserved for more Social Media stuff. So did Jeff Hithcock from ‘Children With Diabetes‘ (CWD) a touching presentation on his social network for parents and children with diabetes. Once started as a virtual space he created for his daughter suffering from diabetes, now a huge online community for thousands of diabetes children. Recently J&J acquired CWD. It’s not clear to me however what’s in it for J&J.

Pharma going social
Another great presentation was from Heidi Youngkin, Executive Director Global Marketing at J&J. She held an informative and engaging talk on her ‘Social Media Adventures’ within J&J. Intruiging to see that a pharma company is already that advanced. No doubt the fact that J&J is a huge company with a lot of FMCG might help, but still. I’m sure that her guidelines will be used as a ‘golden standard’ and reference frame within more pharma companies (I saw a lot of people making notes, since her presentation was not available online). Interestingly J&J started slowly with a blog about the history of the company (nice and safe). After they gained sufficient experience with this new medium they introduced a blog more specifically targeted towards their end users and dealing with more complex subjects. Now they have entered the third stage, going beyond blogs such as participating in the beforementioned community CWD. During the rest of the  conference J&J was quoted and cited as ‘Best Practices’ on several occassions.

The first day finished by a lively panel discussion moderated by Len Starnes, Head of Digital Marketing & Sales General Medicine at Bayer Schering. The panel discussion covered the paradigm shift of web 2.0 in the pharma world. Or should we say how pharma lives in the past not using (some of) these technologies. Interestingly it turned out that the FDA was present as well. Silently sitting in the back of the room, observing how Big Pharma is struggling with this paradigm shift. It sure is a pitty they (or anybody else for that matter) didn’t take the opportunity to start the conversation. And where were the European authorities?

Doctors and communities
Len must have done a great deal with EXL 😉 because the next day he kicked-off the second day of the event with his presentation entitled ‘Healthcare Professionals’ Social Networks – The Beginning of the End of Pharma Marketing As We Know It’. We’ve met Len at several other congresses and it’s always good to listen to his vision on digital marketing within Big Pharma. This time he gave a sound overview of all possible social networks available for the HCP (Health Care Professional). Although a few big players (Sermo and MedScape) there is still room for niche players like Ozmosis for example. And what about Europe? Well, it seems that Doctors.net.uk and DocCheck Faces are the biggest players on our continent but they will soon face competition by the Powerhouse Sermo which intends to introduce here in the not so distant future. Main question of course is how Big Pharma can participate in these communities. Sermo has a partnership with Pfizer, so is this the way to go? Len was firm in his statement that the pharma industry should observe, research, engage and discuss, but under no circumstances should hard sell. He also did a small poll on LinkedIn which showed that 86% of his network believes that Social Networks will have an impact on pharma marketing within the near future.

Enterprise 2.0 and innovation in Pharma

My presentation was next, talking about the internal use of Social Media in the light of innovation in marketing services. I am always surprised to see that an entire industry just jumps on the bandwagon of using social media for external use and just forgets that they first have to deal with yet another -equally important- community: their employees. Why is it that I can’t find more about my colleagues in Outlook’s address book other than their name, telephone number and office number whereas when I check on Facebook and LinkedIn I can find half of their life? Why is it that even a New Media Specialist is blocked access to YouTube at the office because she ‘might watch YouTube videos all day long’? Get seriouss, executives. Wake up in a new world and embrace yourself for the entrance of the digital natives, people who are actually used to share information with each other (and are hence not afraid to lose their ‘power’ when they do). Or read this for a change. We want to create a common platform within our organization where employees can find our internal blog, wikis, podcasts and share ideas. And if that means that we have to pull-in some people screamin’ and kickin’, so it is. Change is never without some pain.

 

 

 

 

YouTube genius
Yet another great presentation was from Kevin Nalty, Marketing Director Dermatology at a large pharma company which name could not be revealed but starts with an ‘M’ and ends with ‘erck’. Besides his serious job he moonlights as an official YouTube Comedian. His website Willvideoforfood is described as ‘a blog for online video, advertising, viral marketing, consumer generated media and blatant self-promotion’. Don’t know if he really needs a site doing all this since he’s one of the top-10 most viewed YouTube comedians with more than 750 videos seen in excess of 60 million times. He even wrote an e-book ‘How To Become Popular On YouTube Without Any Talent’. Well, I don’t have to explain you that we 100% agree with his vision about the power of video in communication. What we do differ in opinion is that although content is still king, form is becoming more and more important. By that I mean that the basic elements of filming should be carried out well (e.g. sound, lightning, basic rules of camera movement). That doesn’t mean that I think one should make a slick commercial. Please don’t. Some ‘rough edges’ gives it most of the time a bit more genuine look. But I will skip videos where the sound quality is poor, even if they have a nice story to tell.

Now, online video is exploding: Pharma, wake up and start using it!

The last presentation was an overview of the possibilities Google has to offer big Pharma. Interesting in that respect is Google.org, a CSR initiative of Google helping the community with their innovative concepts.

A quick wrap up ended the Digital Pharma Congress in Barcelona. Main take home messages of the audience (well, from people who actually dared to shout it out loud):

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That last point was not put in by me, but most probably due to me…

The future
I think it was a good start for such an event. I hope that for next congresses dealing with this subjects participation of European authorities is paramount since they are the gatekeepers of communication possibilities within our industry. Compared to the US Europe is different in that respect, also because we (still) have many different local authorities which can play and are playing according to their rules. The market is changing, people are getting more informed. The question is which information they use in order to get informed, and to what respect the quality of information is improved if Pharma can participate in the discussion. Pharma on the other hand should take it’s responsibility too, by being open and transparent about their products and claims. Pharma is low on the trust-scale, time to open up and fix that. Looking to the people in the audience I have the feeling that Pharma is ready for it. Now authorities, give them the opportunity to do so.

Stay tuned, soon I will post my presentation including the video online.

Pills, marketing & Web 2.0

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It’s that time of year again: flu season. These days many people stay in bed with high fevers and snotty airways, feeling miserable. Waiting rooms of doctors are crowded with people, begging for recipes to get their comforting pills from the pharmacy.

Most of us don’t realize it, but behind those pills stands a huge marketing machine from the producer of these pills. A lot of money goes around in the pharmaceutical industry and competition is murderous. Development of a product takes many years and requires an investment from the pharma company that goes in the multi-millions. And once they’ve marketed their product, they lose the patent on it after a dozen or so years where generic companies take over, manufacturing and selling the same product for a fraction of the price. That’s one of the reasons why pharma companies spend a lot of time and money in building a brand. Simply because a strong and reliable brand is harder to kill.

Marketing communication is a challenge for pharma companies. Due to heavy regulations, it is not allowed in Europe for the industry to directly communicate to the end-users of the products, the patients. All communications around prescription drugs, i.e. drugs you only can obtain through a physician or specialist, are done by these doctors. They are seen as independent experts. In addition, governmental institutions, at least in many European countries, also have a say in the communication simply because a lot of the money used in health care is tax money.

The current developments in communication also have their impact in the pharmaceutical world and the way they do marketing. Pharma marketeers are more or less aware of Web 2.0 and their challenge for is how to deal with the well informed and assertive patient of the 21st century. The current new technologies bring great opportunities to start a dialogue both with patients and doctors.

Transparency
Web 2.0 indeed brings great opportunities for health care. Let’s be honest, what’s more valuable to you than your health and that of your loved ones? The moment something is wrong with it, you surf and search, expecting to find correct, transparent and complete information. Or you get connected to a community of like-minded people to share experiences and emotions. Honesty, transparency, communities? Sound familiar?

Due to the strict rules and regulations, pharma marketeers frequently cannot respond rapidly and adequately to changes like those we currently see in communication. Although it brings opportunities, Web 2.0 very often still is an unknown and uncertain phenomenon. There are agencies that offer their assistance to pharma companies in how to deal with these developments. Recently, we were present at a seminar for the pharma industry on how to use these technologies in this regulated world. The seminar was organized by Across Health, an agency originally specialized in eCRM.

Seminar
‘A Brave New World’ was the title of this seminar that took place in Breda, The Netherlands. Around 30 participants from the pharma industry were present. The seminar was started by Peter Hinssen, one of the partners of Across. Peter gave a fantastic presentation on the acceptance of Web 2.0. Peter is a well-known expert on the impact of technology in our society and a great believer of the fusion of commerce and IT.

Online medical education and web conferencing are tools which with pharma companies are currently experimenting, as demonstrated by a research that Across did amongst their clients. The results, presented by Marcel Scheringa (Senior Management Consultant, Across), demonstrated that the regulations are not the only pitfalls around communication. The lack of a clear eBusiness strategy and the knowledge how to measure ROI are other reasons for failure.

The effect of SEA (Search Engine Advertising) also entered in pharma-marketing, as presented by Filip Standaert of Janssen-Cilag. This company demonstrated that SEA had a significant positive influence on the campaign around a product that improves the quality of life of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Pharma-marketing
The sales force plays an important role in pharma-marketing in bringing the product information to the doctor. Maybe you’ve seen him/her, in the waiting room of your physician: the sales representative, well-dressed, preparing him/herself for a short and effective meeting with the doctor. And short it is. On average, the time spent by a sales rep in the office of a physician is less than 3 minutes. This as a result of the increasing competition between the pharma companies, but also due to the increasing time pressure of the doctor.

In order to still being able to efficiently inform the doctor on the products many companies (if not all) use eDetailing as an alternative. eDetailing can be seen as an online, interactive and educational product brochure. Doctors can consume the information at a time that is suitable to them. Beverly Smet (Senior CRM and Busines Consultant, Across health) explains that engagement with the brand is one of the main achievements of this medium.

Arnoud Kok (Republic M!) and Danny Donkers (Bristol Myers Squibb) presented the advatages of ‘MedConference’, a web conference for the medical world where the main advantage is to save time and money. Simply because you can visit the lecture from behind your computer. This is something, especially in these economic situation, is appreciated by many managers.

Positive but reserved
The feedback from the participants after the meeting was overall positive. People realize that something must be done with Web 2.0, but many still have their reservations. And that is still with reference to the regulations, which limits the possible activities. Still, the pharma industry (and the regulatory institutions!) have to realize that they can’t lag behind. Certainly not when realizing the participation and desire of involvement of patients issues related to their health. Pharma should get involved in these discussion, in one way or another. The will talk about you anyway! And that also gives the opportunity to do something about the bad reputation the industry has amongst both doctors and patients.

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