Global Pharma Marketing Leaders 2015 Summit
Global Pharma Marketing Leaders 2015 Summit | September 21-22, 2015 | Berlin, Germany

Friday, May 29, 2015

A Rare Rx Drug Branded Mobile App for Patients. Is It Just a Drug.com Site on Your Phone?

It's rare for a pharmaceutical company to develop a mobile app that includes brand name drug information. So, when I learned that Boehringer recently released a GILOTRIF branded iPhone/iPad app for people who may have NSCLC (non-small cell lung cancer), I immediately downloaded it.

Although I luckily do not have NSCLC and have not been prescribed GILOTRIF, I was able to open up the app and use it (see the opening screen on the left). That's why I say this app may be for patients prescribed the drug and who need support. But it could also be targeted to newly-diagnosed patients who may wish to learn more about GILOTRIF (i.e., it's a DTC ad just like a drug.com website).

The official name of the app is "My Treatment Guide" and you can find it on the iTunes app store here.

Boehringer has taken pains NOT to mention the indication for GILOTRIF in the iTunes description. Perhaps they read my blog post about Pfizer's LIPITOR app, which mentioned its indication but did not provide the necessary fair balance (i.e., major side effects) as required by FDA (read "Pfizer's Short-lived LIPITOR Branded Mobile App").

I say "necessary" because, IMHO, iTunes pages that mention brand name drugs qualify as prescription drug DTC ads that must comply with FDA regulations regarding fair balance (ie, it must include Important Safety Information or ISI).

So, kudos to Boehringer for that. I have a few more interesting observations about this app that you may be interested in reading.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

House Bill Would Give FDA 18 Months to Finalize "One-Click Rule" Guidance: ROFLMAOYSST

On May 20, 2015, Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives a bill (H.R. 2479) that would "direct the FDA to clearly regulate meaningful, truthful and non-misleading communication of product information on social media."

Specifically, the draft of the bill (find it here) states that the FDA should revise its regulations and guidances to "recognize that [sponsors of medical products] may use the Internet to:
  • "disseminate, in character-limited applications, truthful, introductory information about medical products, including the name of such products and their approved uses; and 

  • "provide additional information about the safety and effectiveness of the medical products using information that is hyperlinked to such introductory information; and for regulatory purposes, treat hyperlinked information ... as if the information appeared in introductory information [i.e., the original character-limited text, meaning tweet]."
This, of course, is the "one-click rule," which has been hotly debated for years in pharma marketing circles. In fact, I was among the first observers to point out that the "one-click rule" as described above should be allowed. Let me explain...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tom Stossel Attempts to Debunk the Conflict-of-Interest "Myth"

Yesterday, I interviewed Thomas P. Stossel, M.D., visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, about his new book, PharmaPhobia, and his call to action against the "Conflict of Interest Movement," which he claims undermines American medical innovation. You can hear some of his main arguments in the following 5-minute audio snippet from that interview:



You can listen to the full interview here.

Stossel uses many combative terms to describe the focus of his critique. In his book and in the interview, Stossel repeatedly refers to the "Conflict-of-Interest Movement," "Conflict-of-Interest Narrative," and conflict-of-interest "instigators, enablers and enforcers.”

Here's a sample of his acerbic style: “The case underlying the conflict-of-interest movement is a mixture of moralistic bullying, opinion unsupported by empiric evidence, speculation, simplistic and distorted interpretations of complicated and nuanced information, superficially and incompletely framed anecdotes, inappropriately extrapolated or irrelevant psychological research results, and emotionally laden human-interest stories.”

Tell us what you REALLY think Dr. Stossel! To me this sounds like every pharmaceutical marketing campaign, especially the part about "emotionally laden human-interest stories" (read, for example, "Online e-Patient & Celebrity Patient Video Testimonials").

But will Stossel's new book, which ends with a section on "What is to be done," turn the tide as he hopes it will?

Friday, May 15, 2015

What I Learned During Day 1 at iPharma 2015

I am attending CBI's iPharma 2015 conference in New York City. Yesterday was the first day. I chaired the Technology Track and moderated a panel discussion that attempted to answer the question: Can Mobile, Apps and Wearables Make an Impact on Health Outcomes?

 Of course the answer was "Yes! And…"

As I learned from a previous speaker, that phrase was how "innovators" like Walt Disney suggested his staff greet new ideas instead of saying "No, because…" That is, people should add more suggestions for how the idea could work and not just shoot it down immediately.

It's just one little thing I "learned," which I can put into practice at my next homeowners board meeting when they try and shoot down my idea of using technology & social media to make running a homeowners association more transparent and inclusive. I imagine marketers -- especially digital marketers -- could apply the same thinking when their ideas are being shot down by MLR or upper management.

BTW, "innovators/innovation" is one of the terms on my Pharma Buzzword Bingo Card, which is shown in the accompanying image (updated at end of 2nd day). You can see that quite a few buzzwords (13) were mentioned during yesterday's sessions (for a buzzword score of 54%). Note that the complete bottom row is marked off and I have achieved BINGO!

BTW, Peter Justason, Director of eMarketing at Purdue, began a remark in a panel discussion with the phrase "If you are a pharma guy…" He didn't mean "The" PharmaGuy so I just put a dashed line through that in the card. Note: PharmaGuy is trademarked!

But enough of silly learnings. What did I learn that might be more useful for pharama digital marketers?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

WANTED: Pharma Mobile Pioneers

For the past few years I have been following and reporting on mobile health initiatives, campaigns, and apps developed by pharmaceutical companies. I've collected these articles, blog posts, and podcasts in one BIG compendium: the Pharma Mobile & mHealth Reprint Catalog (FREE!).

A few pharma mobile initiatives are good, many are not so good, and a few are just awful and potentially dangerous such as a physician diagnosis mobile app recalled by Pfizer (read "The First Ever 'Dear Doctor' Letter Regarding a Mobile Medical App Recall").

Regardless of the results, I believe it is important to recognize the pioneers within the pharmaceutical industry who are leading the way in developing mobile solutions for physicians and/or patients. That's why I am expanding the scope of my annual PharmaGuy Social Media Pioneer Award to include Mobile as well.

Here's how you can help me in my quest for Pharma Mobile Pioneers.

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