Half the top 50 pharmas are active on social media sites

A study by healthcare IT company IMS Health has found that almost half of the world’s top 50 pharmaceutical companies have been actively using the social media websites Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Only ten companies made use of all three forms of social media, however, according to the report, “Engaging patients through social media”.

The study also found limited formation of interactive relationships with online users, although there was more of this by smaller companies. IMS Health said: “Many companies are using social media primarily as a unilateral broadcasting channel to physicians and patients, with limited interaction or fostering of discussion. Smaller manufacturers with narrower therapeutic focuses and consumer health companies typically have the highest levels of social media patient engagement.”


Increasingly, patients are turning to social media as an essential forum for obtaining and sharing information related to their health.

“This trend only heightens the need for relevant, accurate content that can be accessed and used throughout the patient journey.

“Healthcare professionals, regulators and pharmaceutical manufacturers all need to overcome their reticence and acknowledge the vital role that they can and should play as participants in the healthcare conversation.”

Murray Aitken, executive director, IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.


The FDA published draft guidance related to use of social media by pharmaceutical companies in January 2014. See our news story (FDA forms a view on pharma use of social media) or analysis (Tunnah’s musings: FDA stays hands on with its social media guidance for pharma).



Related news:

J&J, Glaxo are tops in social media, but smaller drugmakers rate highly, too (FiercePharma).

New study ranks Johnson & Johnson #1 in pharma for social media engagement (Forbes).

Tweet this: pharma still fails to embrace social media (Forbes).

How can pharma capitalise on digital channels in 2014? (PMLiVE).

Reference links:

Pharma should make better use of social media to engage patients and improve the use of medicines (IMS Health press release).

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