Monday, August 31, 2009

Full BOEHR(inger) Social Media Reporting of RELY Trial Results

Boehringer Ingelheim (BI's) -- the German pharmaceutical company -- has just completed the first-ever full bore social media campaign touting the results of its RE-LY® study - "the largest atrial fibrillation (AF) outcomes trial ever conducted." The results of the study were presented for the first time at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress yesterday. BI live-tweeted from the RELY press briefing and presentation in Barcelona.

The Tweets included statements like:
  • "RELY dabigatran had no liver toxicity" [Pradaxa® (dabigatran etexilate) is BI's brand anti-coagulant drug that competes with generic warfarin]

  • "RE-LY results: Significance on primary endpoints and significantly lower bleeding"
PharmaGossip also reported that the word "Impressive" was used in a BI Tweet to describe the results and asked "Boehringer's twittering at the ESC - is it being approved by their internal regulators?" This morning, I cannot find the @Boehringer Tweet PharmaGossip refers to -- maybe BI deleted it -- but the word "impressive" is used in the official press release. Therefore, I assume whatever is being posted on Twitter HAS been approved by BI's regulatory/legal people.

Demand is high to get into the RELY press briefing on TwitpicBI also used Twitpic to show us that "Demand is high to get into the RELY press briefing" (see photo).

Not only has BI used the free services of Twitter and Twitpic to promote the results of this clinical trial, it also uploaded new videos on its new new Boehringer Stroke Prevention YouTube channel.

On August 27, 2009 it uploaded the video entitled "Day in the life of a Warfarin patient," which has an actor portraying a patient who complains about the problems he has with warfarin treatment.

As promised, the YouTube channel is also "packed with RE-LY trial information."

That's a lot of promotion for very little money!

BI seems to be ahead of the pharma pack in using social media to woo journalists and physicians rather than the general public via Twitter and other social media. I discussed this strategy with Judith von Gordon, BI's Head of External Communications, and John Pugh, BI's Director of Corporate Communication/External Communications, in a June, 2009 Pharma Marketing Talk podcast (see "Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma on Twitter: Boehringer Ingelheim").


  1. This is very aggressive. Refreshing. We discussed this here at JFK this morning and have many questions. Did BI put all this content through LMR? If a Y-tube channel is called "stroke prevention" and contains mentions of dabigatran, isn't that pre-approval promotion? How did BI manage Twitter and risk of re-tweets? Is this the work of a PR agency or Ad agency? We had many more questions, but we'll be keeping a close eye on BI's social media work.

  2. Anonymous11:53 AM

    I don't know what is refreshing about this, unless getting a cold bucket of ice poured down your shirt by FDA is your idea of refreshing. Yikes

  3. Depends whose shirt you are talking about.

  4. If it's not advertising then what the hell is it and why the hell are they doing it????????

    And speaking of the You Tube channel.... I believe the GP's name is Dr Sarah Jarvis. She is a "meedja doctor". Wonder if she was paid for her appearance?

    The same Dr Jarvis was also " co-author" of this:

    An article with a record 27 breaches of the ABPI Code of Practice to its name!!!!!

  5. Jackson Roe12:05 PM

    I always thought this was called "seeding the market" and you need to be very careful how and where you do it. Disease state education that mentions a product name becomes promotion and is regulated by the FDA. My experience has been that press releases are not always approved in the haste to get them out in a timely manner and the word "impressive" certainly is a claim.

  6. In Spain the Papers talked about the Sintrom (warfarine) substitute so it was an info that reached the patients. In Spain it is no allowed marketing Direct to you can imagine what many doctors are saying...
    I did not know that pre approval promotion was not allowed in US, but I have no doubt, that this seeding is just part of their promo...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...