I spoke to a couple of agency folks at the Caples Jam last week about the struggles the pharmaceutical industry has had, and is having, in terms of dipping their toes into the social media space. With the regulation and hot-button issues that surround the sector, one-on-one communication that invites unsupervised comment from consumers can be a challenge.
But as I read today through various Twitter posts, WhittmanHart Interactive linked to the following MediaPost article that points out that the FDA does not prohibit pharma companies from engaging in social media. But the bigger question, of course, is the “how” that goes along to simply deciding social media participation is okay. Giving away control to consumers over comments on, say, official pharma company blogs, Twitter accounts or Facebook pages could be a tough call for drug brands that deal with so many legal issues.
After all, pharma companies have enough problems with restrictions and regulations on direct-to-consumer advertising overall. They will have to think long and hard about the best way to engage consumers in the social media space.