Social media in the pharmaceutical sector

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A recent survey by Accenture of sales and marketing executives at large pharmaceutical companies, called ‘Life in the New Normal: The Customer Engagement Revolution’, shows that one in four interactions with doctors, healthcare providers and patients in the US is now digital. This is expected to increase by at least 26 per cent in the next two years and the benefits are clear — highly focused marketing, increased geographical reach, greater customer engagement and reduced marketing costs being just some examples.

While other industries have immersed themselves in the use of new technologies and marketing channels to promote their products, the pharmaceutical industry has taken a far more cautious approach. One reason for this is that the industry is highly regulated, meaning that some of the attractions of social media — greater customer interaction and two-way communication — bring with them certain risks, such as patient confidentiality issues, off-label promotion and the possibility of triggering reporting obligations under pharmacovigilance regulations…

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