How much longer will Med Info folks think that social media is just not relevant to their role?

Listening in on the FDA hearings in Washington on the Promotion of Medicines using Social Media and the Internet was like undergoing a religious conversion. I watched the live webcast whilst following the Twitter stream of consciousness, which was like “reading” an echo. Haven’t a clue what I’m talking about? Search for #fdasm on and scroll through the comments. It’s like translating another language or reading SMS textspeak but you’ll get the picture.

Still a complete mystery? Read on.

Having played around with Facebook, actively networked on LinkedIn, written a blog for more than 2 years and having tweeted on the odd occasion, I’ve been groping to understand the relevance of these wonderful tools and delightful distractions to busy Medical Information professionals.

It all just came alive tonight. It was like the first time I tasted Cointreau poured over cold chocolate ice cream. Suddenly you realise that it was a perfect combination.

The Tweeters summed it up. Social Media is not just a communication channel, it’s a whole set of behaviours. “Consumers” (well, this was the US!) want to engage with the companies that make and sell the medicines that they take. We all heard how everyone is doing it but Pharma is on the sidelines, paralyzed by regulatory and legal concerns. Yet they are the people with so many of the answers that patients and doctors need

But how can Pharma have meaningful dialogues with doctors, other healthcare professionals and patients using social media. The FDA spent the last 2 days listening to key stakeholders presenting their case: marketeers, pharma representatives, bloggers, patient advocates, digital marketing agencies, Google, Yahoo, Larry Webber (google him), Sermo, lobbyists, etc. The FDA aim to take away the wealth of evidence and put together guidance. But the consensus from everyone I heard was that pharma needs guidance now (or at least very soon), it needs to be mindful of emerging technologies that erupt overnight, it needs to be flexible and separate the needs of patients and physicians.

So what’s your call to action?

Many of the presentations can be found on if you want to go look.
Check out for 2 short videos on the take home messages.
Read about Sermo and their AskRx service on this blog – use the Tag cloud on your right to find the blog post. Doctors discussing difficult cases link directly to Pfizer Med Info folks and get the answer posted online for other doctors to read and comment. Brave New World.

*No time to check these sources out? *Still don’t understand where Medical Information or Medical Affairs folks come in?

Sign up for an hour telecast (with slides) on

What Every Medical Information Professional needs to know about Social Media, but is Afraid to Ask!

I promise you’ll go away with the knowledge to understand how Medical Information can tap into the zeitgeist of our times. We are perfectly placed to use our in-depth information evaluation skills, broad scientific knowledge and flexible communication skills to use social media to communicate with our customers in the way they want to engage with us.

Thursday 3rd December. 16.00 GMT, 17.00 CET, 11.00 EST. £75 plus VAT.
It might be your best investment this year!