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Consumers Want Pharma and Healthcare Companies to Participate on Social Media

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Pharma and healthcare companies on social mediaAt last week’s Digital Pharma East conference, WEGO Health Activists – social media power users involved daily in multiple online health communities – spoke out on the power of health social media, and the valuable role of transparent company participation.

A survey conducted by WEGO Health in partnership with the Digital Health Coalition showed that in a survey amongst 356 patients, 47% had a negative opinion of pharma companies in general compared with 30% of advocates with overall favorable views on drugmakers. The new survey shows that drugmakers, which want to build positive buzz on social media sites, still have some work to do to improve their image among online patient communities.

Some of the key findings of the survey:

  • 81% of those surveyed see value in the information from drugmakers on products or services, up 9% from last year’s survey.
  • 80% of patients agreed that companies should be held responsible for misinformation they spill on social media sites, yet they shouldn’t get in trouble for false statements from consumers.
  • That said, 82% agreed that healthcare companies should bear the burden of correcting erroneous information in social media, and the same percentage of survey takers agreed that false info is a threat to public health.
  • The most mentioned drugmakers included Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis and Sanofi.

Bob Brooks, Executive Vice President of WEGO Health said:

Health Care Company participation provides value to the community and Health Activists are growing impatient with non-participating companies. Health Activist opinion leaders feel Health Care Companies have an obligation to the community to debunk misinformation by contributing accurate content about their products.

Pharmaceutical and health care companies have an obligation to consumers to bring accurate, credible information into the millions of health social media conversations going on every day. While even the most active and passionate consumers welcome them, they want Companies and the FDA to define a set of real-world rules of engagement.
A Health Activist survey participant noted:

Social media is a vital connection between patients and the companies who serve them. Patients recognize this and feel left out when companies remain silent. It is important for health care companies to utilize compassion to fix this missing link, and doing so will eliminate the chasm that exists between patients and their companies.


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