Tuesday, December 21, 2010

ePharma Tweets of the Week: 12-21-2010

Review our weekly update to catch the tweets that interested and inspired us.

Compiled by: Jeremy Franz, Digital Strategy Coordinator at Ignite Health (@eHealthStrat)

Its Official – FDA Delaying Social Media Guidance Until at Least Q1 2011 - (via @eyeonfda)


The news that many in the industry were expecting.

I wish more people would think about this when they think about what they're doing with Social Media: (via @mitchjoel)


This post explains how social media can sometimes alienate those who join “in the middle of the movie.” Mitch offers some good tips on how to get late comers brought up to speed on your conversation.

Our holiday gift, from @foursquare to you: photos and comments! (via @foursquare)


These long requested features make foursquare a much more social platform, but will they be enough to hold off the likely geo-transplatation to Facebook Places?

Google Explores the Human Body With HTML5 (via @mashable)


This incredible atlas of the human body showcases the possibilities of HTML5.

Drug Companies Take Their Pitch to Social Media (via @L2_Pharma)


A great write up on the complexity of social media and Pharma originally published on Time magazine’s online destination. The article profiles Novo Novardisk’s RaceWithInsulin campaign.

Report: 70 percent want access to #mHealth 200M apps in use today, 600M by 2012 (via @mobilehealth)


Statistics in the category have been volatile to date,this report investigates patient motivation and barriers to adoption of mHealth.

GR8 READ! "To Friend or Not" - new report by Deloitte explores SOCIAL MEDIA in life science industry: (via @skypen)


Deloitte’s in-depth study provides insight into the reasons why some life science companies are exploring and adopting social media when others are still on the outside looking in.

The Top Six Innovation Ideas of 2011 (via @HarvardBiz)


Harvard Business Review predicts the key sources of innovation to come in 2011 – and invents the word, “contestification” in the process…

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Monday, December 20, 2010

New Poll Reveals Holiday Shoppers Empowered By the Mobile Internet

Approximately Half of U.S. Consumers with Smart Phones Used Them to Locate Stores, Find Products and Compare Prices

The Line Between Online and In-Store Shopping is Blurring

Findings from a new GfK Roper Poll, conducted on behalf of SapientNitro, part of Sapient (NASDAQ: SAPE), demonstrate that American consumers are increasingly empowered by their mobile devices when it comes to researching products and finding the best prices while holiday shopping.

The national survey found that of the three in ten Americans who own a "smart phone" — e.g., an iPhone, Blackberry, Android-based phone, or other type of Internet and application-enabled mobile phone — many are using it to their advantage while shopping for the holidays.

As shoppers are increasingly empowered by their mobile Internet devices this holiday season, this trend has implications for brick-and-mortar retailers. For example, of consumers with a smart phone:
  • Three in ten (30%) say that, while at a store looking at a product, they tried to find a better deal elsewhere on their phone
  • One in three (33%) say that while out shopping, they e-mailed or texted someone to tell them about an experience at a store — such as finding a great deal or a great gift
  • One in five (19%) used their phone to post something on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or other social networking sites about their holiday shopping experience
  • In addition, half or nearly half used their smart phones to find a store location (52%), research specific products they were thinking of purchasing (48%), browse for products (44%), and/or compare prices (40%). About one in three looked for discounts, deals, coupons, or discount codes (35%) on their mobile phones, or checked product availability at retail stores or websites (34%).
"Portability is a game-changer in transforming the way that people shop," said Chris Davey, worldwide head of commerce at SapientNitro. "Technology is causing some of the biggest shifts in human behavior that we've seen in years, and consumers are more informed and empowered than ever. This has a major impact not only on the way that consumers shop but also on the way that retailers need to market to consumers this holiday season."

"Mobile assets play an important role in making it easier for customers to find and order gifts for the holiday season," said Brian Tilzer, vice president of Ecommerce and business development at Staples. "Mobile technology offers us new ways to make it even easier for customers to research, shop and buy the products and services we offer. Given the rapid adoption of smart phones, we see great possibilities over time in putting even more power in the hands of our many customers using these devices."

The survey also found that the Internet, in general, is forging a new inter-connectedness between traditional and online stores. Of those Americans who have already started their holiday shopping:
  • About half (53%) say they purchased a product in a physical retail store after researching the product online
  • Nearly half (44%) purchased a product online after shopping for a similar item in a physical store
Consumers are finding a number of online tools helpful when choosing products to purchase this holiday season, the SapientNitro survey finds. Of those who have made an online purchase this holiday season:
  • Seven in ten (69%) say online customer ratings or reviews (such as on Amazon or Yelp) very or somewhat valuable
  • About half find e-mail promotions (50%) or online videos of product features/reviews (53%) valuable
How the survey was conducted
The survey was conducted December 3-5, 2010 by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications. This telephone poll was based on a nationally representative probability (random digit dial) sample of 1,004 general population adults age 18 or older. The data was weighted to account for probabilities of selection, as well as age, sex, education and race, using targets from the March 2009 supplement of the Current Population Survey.

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on sub-samples.

About GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications, a division of GfK Custom Research North America (www.gfkamerica.com), is one of the most trusted names in public opinion and marketing research. The Roper legacy dates back to 1933 and today is known for its work in public relations, brand building, consumer advocacy, social policy and corporate communications, serving clients across sectors and around the world. Whether it's a Fortune 500 corporation or a non-profit organization, a major media company or an online start-up, a university, think-tank or public relations firm, a local government or private philanthropy, GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications delivers intelligence vital to their strategic objectives. GfK Custom Research North America is part of the GfK Group.

About SapientNitro SapientNitroSM, part of Sapient®, is one of the world's largest integrated marketing and technology services firms. We create and engineer highly relevant experiences that accelerate business growth and fuel brand advocacy for our clients. By combining multi-channel marketing, multi-channel commerce, and the technology that binds them, we influence customer behavior across the spectrum of content, communication and commerce channels, resulting in deeper, more meaningful relationships between customers and brands. SapientNitro services global leaders such as Citi, The Coca-Cola Company, Mars, Singapore Airlines, Target, and Vodafone through our operations in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. For more information, visit www.sapientnitro.com or follow us on Twitter @sapientnitro.

SOURCE: SapientNitro
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Big Pharma's small voice

Out of fear of federal regulation, drug companies shun social media

Written by Jonathan Starkey (The News Journal)

Source: Delaware Online

It's all too common these days to wake up in the morning, fire off a tweet about some piece of news, then log onto Facebook to drone on about one thing or another.

For most, it's all pretty simple, and safe.

Not for Big Pharma.

Executives at pharmaceutical companies are all tied in knots about what they can and can't say through social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and other popular Web forums where patients and doctors congregate.

They worry that one wrong move will land them in the penalty box with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, their federal regulator.

A recent survey from audit and consulting firm Deloitte found that 35 percent of companies surveyed had no interest in social media, a striking number given that the general public seems enamored with such 21st century pleasures as Tweeting on Twitter and Friending on Facebook. Many firms see the new media as a gold mine for customer engagement.

But more than half of firms surveyed by Deloitte said confusion about what regulators believe is appropriate communication over social networks gives them heartburn about participating.

Promoting a branded drug over Twitter, for example, is virtually unheard of. Even observing conversations at more private forums like Sermo.com, a professional networking site for doctors, has its dangers.

"Our concern is particularly around what the FDA is going to think about social media and the fact that you're really at times limited in what you can communicate," said Fritz Bittenbender, a spokesman for Frazer, Pa.-based Cephalon, which makes the sleep-disorder drug Provigil.

Cephalon recently issued a set of new media guidelines to its employees that cautioned them against promoting products through their personal accounts.

"The FDA could see that as an official corporate message," Bittenbender warned.

Pharmaceutical companies have become masters at pitching their products in old media outlets. Think of those fancy Viagra ads on TV. Or full-page spreads in mass-market magazines hawking the latest and greatest cholesterol pill.

In 1997, the FDA issued rules allowing those direct-to-consumer ads, so long as the drugmaker also discussed the corresponding risks and side effects of the medicines.

It's the lack of similar rules for social media -- where room for messaging is often more limited -- that has made big pharmaceutical players sheepish about entering the space.

Many in the industry believe the Food and Drug Administration is dragging its feet on issuing guidelines for social media use, according to consultants who coach pharma types on using new media tools.

Regulators held a two-day meeting on the topic last November, but have remained mostly silent about guidelines since.

FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess said the agency still plans to issue a set of social media guidelines before year's end.

"I think there's a lot of pessimism because it's taken them a year to do something," said Phil Charron, a senior director at Conshohocken, Pa.-based Think Brownstone, which consults with pharma companies.

Meanwhile, the regulator's delay in issuing guidance hasn't kept it from reacting strongly to pharmaceutical companies it believes are using social media networks inappropriately.

In a letter sent in August, and posted to its website, the FDA dinged Swiss drug giant Novartis for its use of a Facebook-sharing widget on a website for its leukemia drug Tasigna.

The widget was a button that allowed the site's visitors to share the drug's information with their friends on Facebook.

Problem was, the FDA, said, the information that carried over to Facebook -- descriptive metadata stored in the page's code -- didn't contain any mention of the drug's risks.

"The shared content is misleading because it makes representations about the efficacy of Tasigna but fails to communicate any risk information associated with the use of this drug," the FDA wrote in its letter, ordering the company to "immediately cease the dissemination of violative promotional materials."

Consultants say this presents one of the most perplexing issues for pharmaceutical companies looking to engage on social networks: How do you communicate risk in limited space, like the 140 characters allowed by Twitter for a single message?

Charron said most hope the FDA will allow companies to place the risk warnings "one click away." But the default position for now, without that guidance? Companies avoid promoting branded products through new media.

Representatives of pharma companies also are often advised to steer clear of doctor and patient forums like Sermo.com, where their participation may be helpful, but raises the risk of regulatory run-ins, consultants say.

"At what point does something that's said around the performance of a product suddenly become a reportable event," said Terry Hisey, head of the U.S. life sciences practice at Deloitte. Hisey said companies remain uncertain about the answer to that question.

Charron, from Think Brownstone, says all of this means less information on the Web. And that's a big deal, considering that 61 percent of American adults look online for information about health care topics, according to a 2009 study from the Pew Research Center.

British drugmaker AstraZeneca, which has its U.S. headquarters and 4,000 employees in Delaware, has a strong presence on networking sites like Twitter, but keeps its accounts mostly focused on industry trends, or news that's non-controversial by any measure.

AstraZeneca's U.S. tweeters -- @AstraZenecaUS -- recently told their 4,134 followers that the company had received a "Community Partner of the Year," award, for example. It ignored news that the company's most important new drug, the blood thinner Brilinta, had failed to win regulatory approval.

In a memo to the FDA in February-- when the regulator was publicly studying the social media issue -- AstraZeneca said its participation on social networking sites was "intentionally quite limited."

"Without guidance, our activities are limited in a manner that we believe is not in the best interests of informed health care decision making," the drugmaker said. "In our absence, consumers will turn to information sources that are not regulated and not always well-informed."

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