Study: Pharma Companies at Lower Than Expected Risk from Social Media Usage

A study by Visible Technologies finds that only a tiny percentage of all posts across social media sites rise to the level of the Adverse Event Reporting (AER) government mandate. The AER requires that companies explain negative side effects from the use of a drug in a clinical trial. Only .3 percent of posts had an AER and some of those didn’t actually rise to the government threshold to mandate one.

Greg Singh, regional director of Visible says the results show that while pharma companies “are intimidated by the FDA’s Adverse Events Reporting requirements,” they shouldn’t be quite as hesitant on social media as they have been.

“These findings prove that AER reporting is far less common than people think, creating a safer harbor for pharmaceutical marketers who want to embrace the many opportunities that social media offers to engage with consumers and build brand loyalty. It also gives them the opportunity to effectively use social media to improve AER, rather than ignore the potential upside of this new medium,” he said in a statement.

Pithy status updates make it difficult to go into detail about much of anything, so we would recommend a healthy level of caution when dealing with consumers, for example, on Twitter when talking about pharma issues.

But, social media should be providing opportunities for greater sharing of information, not provide an excuse to do less. It’ll be interesting to see what steps they’ll be taking (if any) to meet the regulation in future social media plans.

Visible Technologies kept watch on 224 pharma brands over 30 days for the study. Click here for more info about the study.