pharma1Until recently, many big-name pharmaceutical companies have been gun-shy about entering into the realm of social media.  But recent trends are telling a different story.  Only two weeks after pharmaceutical giant Nova Nordisc announced development of its brand new twitter page, Pfizer quickly followed suit introducing plans for its own page in the next few months.  Both companies plan to use Twitter as a social platform to announce new products, new drug treatments, as well as developing better relationships with their consumers.  But is social media really an effective marketing tool for large pharmaceutical companies? And why now are they starting to jump on the social media bandwagon, after years of resistance?

As the economic downturn continues to adversely affect pharmaceutical companies all over the world, many pharmaceutical consultants are starting to recommend giving social media a try.  Until recently, much of the pharmaceutical industry has shied away from entering into the interactive realm of social media, for various reasons.  The common belief was that implementing effective marketing strategies using social media was too difficult, given the legal and regulatory hurdles.  Also, the lack of a means to measure the financial success of using social media, has kept many pharmaceutical companies away from using these possible lucrative marketing tools.  However, signs are showing that these trends are starting to change.

Many pharmaceutical consulting experts are coming out in droves stating that many of these negative claims about social marketing are highly over exaggerated.  It is true that many pharmaceutical companies have stayed away from blogs and other social media because of legal and regulatory issues, but this trend is beginning to change.  Many pharmaceutical companies, in recent years, are simply bypassing many of these regulatory concerns, or simply finding ways around them.  Many drug companies are hiring outside firms to run blogs and message boards for them, but at the same time not being directly associated with the company.  This is an important step for pharmaceutical companies, as customers can discuss their reaction to different drugs and therapies, without and legal concerns.

With over 80% of Internet consumers, searching online for health and drug information, breaking into social media is absolutely vital for the continued success of pharmaceutical industry in the technologically evolving business climate of the 21st century.  Many pharmaceutical consulting experts are finding it more and more important for the pharmaceutical industry to enter into this realm of social media, and find it will be more commonplace in the next 5 years.  Because social media is an excellent place for drug companies to utilize online support groups, as well as discuss treatments and medications with patients online, this trend will only continue to grow.  Marketing through social media will help create not only better-informed patients, but will help patients to make better health decisions about what kind of medicines or treatments they should be choosing.

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