Regulatory-Compliant Pharmaceutical Engagement – a call to action

New and emerging communications channels have brought significant change to the landscape in which pharmaceutical companies operate. The relationship between stakeholders including patients, carers and healthcare professionals is being transformed by new phenomena. For pharmaceutical companies, many traditional channels of communication are decreasing in effectiveness, whilst lack of regulatory clarity and strategy are tending to hinder the successful implementation of engagement strategies that embrace new and emerging channels.

Embracing the changing healthcare engagement landscape means responding to both its opportunities and its threats strategically. It means finding new ways of internal stakeholders in marketing, communications, pharmacovigilence, legal, and IT working together. It may also mean new ways of engaging and partnering with external stakeholders including healthcare professionals, patients and carers, patient advocacy groups, regulators, and even competitors.

Many in the pharmaceutical industry are looking to regulators to define policy and guide best practice. Indeed, as the world waits for guidance to emerge from the [intlink id=”lessons-fda-social-media-hearing” type=”post”]FDA’s hearing on the promotion of regulated products using the Internet and Social Media tools[/intlink], there is an expectation that precedents may be set by such guidance that influence regulators the world over.

In the mean time, as engagement channels continue to emerge and evolve, the pharmaceutical industry operates cautiously within existing regulatory frameworks that provide guidance on product marketing and communications but do not explicitly address changes to the healthcare engagement landscape created by emerging channels.

Professionals in the pharmaceutical industry must define and implement strategies that embrace the new healthcare engagement landscape. It is time for an informed strategic debate amongst pharmaceutical company stakeholders including pharmacovigilence, legal, marketing and communications professionals, and amongst external stakeholders including regulators, healthcare professionals and patient advocates.

Creation Healthcare is calling for an open international debate that will:

  • Explore the opportunities and threats posed by emerging channels
  • Propose and develop strategies for pharmaceutical companies to embrace these opportunities and threats
  • Share best practice
  • Propose guidelines for ethical and regulatory-compliant engagement
  • Inform and influence policymakers

If you agree that it’s time for such a debate, why not get the ball rolling? Show your support for the call in one of the following ways:

  • Tweet this call for action
  • Tell your peers
  • Ask your industry organization to get involved
  • Make a suggestion: we’re very open to ideas about what form such a debate might take
  • Tell us how you would like to support the call
    • Openly, by tweeting me @EngagementStrat
    • Directly, by [intlink id=”daniel-ghinn” type=”page”]emailing me[/intlink]
Daniel Ghinn

Daniel Ghinn is Editor of Healthcare Engagement Strategy and CEO of Creation Healthcare, the online market research consultancy for healthcare. He is a prolific writer and speaker on emerging trends healthcare engagement in the digital age.