Social Media Dulling Pharma's Marketing Knife

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I was planning to write a long article about Pharma (Pharmaceuticals) and what their deal is with social media however instead I decided to just jot down things as they come since there is ever so much to talk about.
First off, many of us are already aware of the fact that pharma is notorious for their focus on television ads and of course massive salesforce out there visiting doctors to spread marketing messages (or just drop off samples…ahem). However, I haven’t seen enough out there talking about the fact that Pharma is not only afraid of the FDA but is also afraid of the public truly knowing what is going on with their medications.
My main point here is that one of the reasons Pharma doesn’t want to engage social media or step outside of their television comfort box is because they have extremely focused marketing messages and opening up the gates to actually let consumers talk would obliterate their ability to control the messaging as they wish. Unfortunately, [people](http://www.pharmamarketingblog.com/) are already talking about Pharma in [blogs](http://www.healthcarevox.com/) and forums and as we all know the social spaces can’t be controlled. The bottom line is that nowadays companies can’t position their products against competitors like they would want. Instead, consumers are telling the truth and chiming in all over the place. For pharma, this means that they can’t just pick a single result out of a clinical trial and tout that data as a major advantage against competing medications so easily. The consumers will let the world know if there is truly a reduction in that nasty side effect or greater efficacy with the new formulation. This will not only effect the salesforce’s ability to communicate that razor sharp message, but will also even up the playing ground for those who don’t necessarily have the marketing prowess that some of the bigger companies do. Social media is in effect, compromising pharma’s control over their meds and desigining fancy clinical trials to prove something they need to prove (whether or not it’s actually true) will no longer have the impact it used to. Adding this one element to the entire healthcare debacle (greedy pharma, government healthcare, scrutiny on DTC advertising) that is going on today, what does everybody think about the longer term impact on the entire pharma industry?
In my opinion, at least near-term, it won’t be long before pharma realizes that they aren’t in control anymore and that instead of engaging social media they will then have to backtrack and jump in at the final 2 minutes of the ballgame with the hopes to take possession of the ball.

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