The new pharma Facebook landscape: comments allowed

In Uncategorized by Caroline Hornby

facebook and pharma in rare diseases Siren Interactive kindly provided this guest blog post from their blog, SirenSong. It was written by Eileen O’Brien, Director of Search & Innovation at Siren Interactive.

A few months ago Facebook announced that on August 15 they would enable commenting on biotech and pharmaceutical Facebook pages. The exception would remain pages that specifically focus on a prescription product and not building a community. Now that this deadline has passed, I wanted to see what impact this new policy had on the pharma Facebook landscape. I focused on prescription medications and pharmaceutical companies, not hospitals or over-the-counter drugs.

Lunesta appears to be the one pharma brand taking advantage of the exception and remains on Facebook with comments disabled. A few companies are using a workaround: by taking down all their wall posts there is no way for people to comment. These include Botox, Juvederm, Latisse and Novartis, although Novartis notes: “The Novartis Facebook page is being redesigned to align with new Facebook policies.”

Many pharma Facebook pages were disease focused, sponsored by a company with a prescription drug in the category. Approximately 8 disease focused Facebook pages were taken down by pharma companies rather than open them to comments. Four of these types of pages are newly opened up to comments: Sounds of Pertussis, Our Hemophilia Community, sanofi-aventis U.S. Diabetes and There’s More to Life than Hemophilia A. They join Psoriasis 360 which had previously allowed comments. I think it’s telling that 2 of these 5 pages are around hemophilia, a rare disease. As this blog has previously noted, rare disease patients are looking for ways to connect with each other and for pharma to be part of the conversation.

Corporate Reputation Pages
Some pharma corporate pages have always allowed comments including AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. They are now joined by Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Lily Pharmaceuticals Careers. The Pfizer page explains in great detail why a comment might be deleted. The AstraZeneca blog explained why they are staying on Facebook.

Big thanks to Jonathan Richman’s wiki where I found most of these Facebook pages. The next question to ponder was raised by Steve Woodruff, Does Pharma Really Have Anything to Offer on Social Media?, and also addressed by Gigi Peterkin.

Did I miss any pages? What do you think about this topic?

For more information on orphan drugs and rare diseases, check out the World Orphan Drug Congress USA. Siren Interactive is a silver sponsor.