Pharma is right to abandon Twitter

Social media is going through its product life-cycle and reinventing itself to stay relevant. Lilly’s terrible experience on Twitter is a clear message to pharma to ignore social media, which has become a bulletin board for harmful health misinformation.

Over the last week, I have submitted position papers to clients advising them to abandon Twitter. In the article, I used several examples of wrong/inaccurate health information that could harm patients.

Mr. Musks’ purchase of Twitter has led to irresponsible practices on the site. There is virtually nobody reviewing content to determine what’s accurate or inaccurate. This is dangerous because too many people make treatment decisions based on what they read online, and too often, they don’t have the time to determine what is true.

According to Pew Research, “Americans have long been much more likely to trust information from local and national news organizations than on social media sites. This remains the case today, except among the youngest adults. Adults under 30 are almost as likely to trust information from social media sites as they are from national news outlets.”

Take, for instance, the media hype about diabetes “weight loss” drugs. People still want the drug despite the unknown concerning long-term and severe side effects. It’s become known as the Hollywood weight loss miracle” However, a recent dive into social media indicates that a lot more people are dealing with unwanted side effects like nausea and other GI problems.

The preliminary feedback I’m getting from clients is that DTC budget dollars will be tight in 2023. Managers want to allocate money on tactics with a proven ROI and don’t have the budgets for “we should try…”.

Twitter right now is a total disaster. Not only has Mr. Musk allowed liars and troublemakers back on Twitter, but the use of hate speech has increased by over 1500% as nobody minds the store.

My advice to clients is to monitor Twitter to listen to what people are saying but do not allocate any money to Twitter until some responsible organization takes root.