Blogs vs. DTC: What's Best for Consumers?
Exploring Blogs as a Counter to Other Sources of Drug and Medical Information
- Guest: Bob Ehrlich, Chairman, DTC Perspectives, Inc.
- Live Podcast Date: Thursday, May 24, 2007, 1 PM Eastern US time
- Duration: Approx. 35 minutes
While blogs are now aimed primarily at industry insiders, one has to wonder when it will be a dominant consumer tool aimed at reviewing drug performance, side effects and risks. Blogs on drug selection may soon be a key tool in spreading word of mouth on new drugs.
Consumers will learn to accept blogs as a counter to other sources of medical information, DTC included. This will be a messy process, because some blogs are factual and some are based on erroneous opinion or data. Drug companies need to take blogs seriously because consumers increasingly use them and will rely on them as much as main media for information. No one said the new world of technology would be easy. For the drug industry used to tight control of information, the blog world could be a nightmare to harness.
Bob Ehrlich is the CEO of DTC Perspectives Inc., the only company dedicated to studying direct-to-consumer marketing and advertising for the health care industry. Bob started DTC Perspectives in 2000, after a long career in consumer and pharmaceutical marketing at Warner Lambert.
In 1997 Bob was on the launch team for Lipitor, now the most prescribed drug in the world. He was voted one of the 50 top marketers in the United States by Advertising Age for that work.
Bob has consulted with many of the top pharmaceutical companies since he started DTC Perspectives. Clients have included AstraZeneca, Sanofi-Aventis, Lilly, Organon, and Allergan. Bob is well-known in the DTC industry for his frequent talks and his weekly email column is read by over 3000 industry professionals.
Some topics to be discussed:
- Are consumers turning towards blogs to get information about drugs and medical treatment options? Are these primarily patient/consumer blogs or also physician blogs?
- Are blogs inherently less credible than other sources of drug information on the Internet? If so, how so?
- Many patient blogs offer opportunities to be "harnessed" by pharmaceutical marketers. What dangers do marketers face when getting involved in the blogosphere either by placing ads on blogs or more pro-actively engaging in the conversation?
- How can pharmaceutical companies relinquish some control over content to enable to better co-operate with bloggers?