Black Box warnings, no excuse for poor online strategy

video-top-section-desktopKEY TAKEAWAY: When a Black Box warning prevents you from executing a patient centric online strategy and your website metrics are in the toilet, perhaps it’s best to ask “how can we engage these patients without scaring them away?

I happen to like the DTC campaign for Rexulti.  The visual of people holding up facial signs with a smile while behind it while they are depressed is very effective, but the website has major problems, even with a Black Box warning.

According to Alexa Rexulti’s traffic has been declining in big numbers.


Then there is a bounce rate of almost 80% and time on site of under 1:30 with less than 1.28 page views.


In other words, people are looking at the home page with it’s slap in the face warning and “running away”.  This is not what a pharma website should be doing even with a Black Box warning.

Black Box warnings are serious and patient safety information needs to be communicated but there are instances where some products have done well.   In fact the challengesof Black Box warnings do not mean the products cannot be successful. In fact, more than 300 active ingredients with black-box warnings are currently on the market.

How has that success been possible? The answer most likely can be found in the way these drugs were marketed: They shared information to ensure patient safety and employed marketing strategies crafted to drive appropriate use.



[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Demonstrating that the benefits of Black Box products outweigh the risks has been key to continued marketing of a successful product[/inlinetweet].

Clinical rationale, relevant disease information, appropriate drug usage, patient selection, compliance, and physician and consumer responsibility are other types of information that help offset concerns raised about boxed warnings.

To create the types of relationships needed for a successful Black Box product, it is imperative that a brand behave in an actively responsible way, from allocating resources to tracking the performance of the brand and the perceptions of its customers. In addition to the typical sales tracking, brand teams must develop an ongoing dialog with all constituents to learn how messages are received so they can be adjusted accordingly.

With the metrics so poor one has to wonder if the brand team is tracking the poor performance or having a weeks worth of meetings to discuss what to do next.

I don’t accept the fact that the website metrics are so poor because of a “black box warning”.  There are too many other drugs that have overcome that barrier.  Back to square one.