Many pharma companies have embraced Facebook and other social media to the point that they acknowledge there are masses on those sites, and they want to take advantage of the clear potential marketing opportunities. But the part about social media being ‘a discussion’ has not been particularly embraced. A primary concern for pharma is the adverse-events reporting requirement.
While the FDA is currently trying to figure out what their policies are on social media, the comments made on sites like Facebook still fall under the standard guidelines which means there’s a lot of confusion. Because of this, most pharma pages on Facebook have their comments disabled. Facebook just made an announcement that may bring major changes to the way pharma uses Facebook: no new pharma pages may disable their comments, and existing pharma pages must have comments enabled by August 15th. FacebookFools discusses this decision:
“Facebook sent out an email to select pharmaceutical Page owners last week, that first highlighted that Pages are intended to be a place for ‘authentic, engaging, two-way dialogue,’ before explaining the changes… Pharmaceutical companies have been trying to use Facebook for years, but their concern around the requirement has made them especially cautious, and many of their campaigns over the years have come across as canned or stilted, or otherwise unsocial.
But as the Intouch blog points out, they can still take approaches with their Pages that allow them to reach users without running afoul of Facebook or the FDA. They can still block users from posting to their Page’s Wall or otherwise creating and adding their own content (it’s just commented on Page-created content that can no longer be blocked). Companies can also install a third-party application that provides forum-style functionality, that separately provides an interface for moderating user comments. Or they can provide a full-time monitoring team to handle Pages with comments enabled.”
Read more here.