Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Bayer Accelerates Grants4Apps Accelerator Program

My "Ice Bucket" Challenge: Donate to a Different Cause to Improve the Health & Lives of Millions

This weekend, Thibaud Guymard (@thibaudguymard), Digital Marketing Manager at MSD France, nominated me (and a few others) to take the ALS "Ice Bucket Challenge." You can find Thibaud's video here.

Usually, I am game to answer any challenge and make the most out of it PR-wise. So I answered the challenge, but in my own special way.

But I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of donating to organizations that sponsor fundamental research into diseases like ALS. Although it's a worthy cause, I believe that (1) my taxes already help fund basic medical research (e.g.. NIH-funded research) that has made a difference in many people's lives, (2) the ALS Foundation has already received more than $100 million due to this this campaign (holy cow! enough already!), and (3) if I do donate, I'd rather donate to a cause that has a better ROI and can change the lives of millions of people immediately rather than 10 years from now.

So I agonized over how to respond to Thibaud's challenge. And then I decided what I could do to respond.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mobile App Usage Surges. Will Pharma Ads Follow?

According to the 2014 U.S. Mobile App Report by Comscore, U.S. digital consumers now spend more time using mobile apps than they do  on desktop computers (see chart below).

"Total U.S. digital media time spent has jumped 24 percent in the past year, driven by a surge in mobile app usage, which increased 52 percent," noted the report.

"While mobile usage has been growing fast, it has not come at the expense of desktop computer usage, which still managed to grow by 1 percent. Apps drive the vast majority of media consumption activity on mobile devices, accounting for approximately 7 out of every 8 minutes."

Despite this, mobile apps have not been attracting the dollars its audience warrants, says Comscore. I know of one pharma company, however, that has cleverly and successfully promoted one of its drugs via a mobile app.

Friday, August 15, 2014

FDA's "Off-Label Risk Reduction" Approach to Reprint Distribution is "Misguided," Says Sidney Wolfe

In June, the FDA issued a THIRD draft guidance document regarding reprint distribution by pharmaceutic companies. This new guidance describes FDA’s recommendations for distributing reprints that convey "new risk information" for approved drugs (read "FDA Issues More Guidance Regarding Distribution of Reprints. Is It 'Fair and Balanced?'").

The draft guidance states: "FDA does not intend to object to the distribution of new risk information that rebuts, mitigates, or refines risk information in the approved labeling, and is distributed by a firm in the form of a reprint or digital copy of a published study" if the study or analysis meet specific conditions (read about the conditions here).

In a JAMA Internal Medicine viewpoint article published today, Sidney Wolfe, founder and senior adviser of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, argues that the draft guidance "suggests that the agency has now tilted toward protecting industry's commercial speech and away from protecting patients from the risks of prescription drugs and biological products" and would "let the pharmaceutical industry essentially circumvent drug labeling rules and tell doctors that its products have fewer risks than those described in the FDA-approved labeling."

Does Wolfe have a case?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Why I Will Be Attending Digital Pharma East

Rich Meyer initiated quite a controversy on his World of DTC Marketing blog when he posted a "guest" article by an anonymous "Senior Director for a top pharmaceutical company" who explained why he won't be attending ExL Pharma's Digital Pharma East conference this fall.

Like my friend and fellow conference-goer Zoe Dunn, I have "such a pet peeve with people hiding behind an anonymous post without owning it." It's too bad that some pharma people feel the need to hide their identities when expressing their personal opinions.

Meyer says there are "legal and regulatory roadblocks from his company" that prevent the author from identifying himself! That excuse sounds familiar -- it's the same excuse many pharma marketers have for not doing more in the digital realm despite the fact that their audience is there (read "Pharma DTC Advertising Spend vs. Time Consumers Spend in Various Media").

Before I critique the author's argument, some full disclosure. Pharma Marketing News, which I publish, is a Media Partner for this event, which means that ExL Pharma is a client of mine. In fact, almost ALL pharma conference producers are clients of mine and I get to attend many of these conferences because I get press passes or I get free registration because I am a speaker. In fact, I will be speaking -- for 5 minutes -- at the end of Mobile Day at Digital Pharma East where I will announce the winners of the 5th Annual PharmaGuy Social Media Pioneer Award.

Now, on to my critique. Also, at the end of this post see comments from Jayson Mercado, Head of Digital Events at ExL Pharma. For some reason, Jayson's comments were deleted from the World of DTC Marketing blog.