Facebook will not help pharma DTC

unknownKEY TAKEAWAY: Consumers and patients do not want to have a social media relationship with a pharma company.  I heard this again and again during the course of three years research for clients.  Facebook just doesn’t understand what people want from pharma.

To make advertising on Facebook even more pharma-friendly, Facebook is letting drug makers turn off comments on the pages used to promote specific products. They are also planning to use automated scroll technology for pharma ads so as to communicate fair balance, but this is too little too late.

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Facebook is also working to build community pages that bring together users who all share a particular medical condition. Those pages can be sponsored by drug makers — who just so happen to market a medicine to treat that condition.  This despite the fact that patients do not want users of Facebook knowing that they have medical problems.

Imagine that you join a community group for MS on Facebook and then all of a sudden in your news feed you start seeing ads for MS treatments which remind you that you have a health problem.

The people who take the most prescriptions are the ones who least understand how to manage their Facebook feeds. In addition imagine having a conversation on an open social media platform about the problems you’re encountering managing your disease.

Not allowing comments on drug product Facebook pages, because the drug companies are afraid of adverse event reporting, is contrary to everything social media is supposed to be.  Yet users have told brands to “leave me alone” on their Facebook feed unless you’re an iconic brand like Starbucks or Trek Bikes.

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No Facebook, this won’t work, however there are opportunities which I would be able to discuss with you.  The20 something people who call on pharma are clueless you need experienced pharma marketers who understand how Facebook could find value for pharma and patients. DTC Perspectives is wrong, yet again, because this is an opportunity in which most pharma clients will pass.

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