Pharma marketing is getting sneakier. There was a report of a “patient” facebook page that was also a creation of a pharma company and not a real person.
This is an NPR story from yesterday:
The approaches go way beyond Facebook widgets. Some drugmakers have set up support-group websites for certain diseases. Take a look at ShareYourPain.com for people with chronic pain from cancer. Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom, where the small type reveals that site is sponsored drugmaker Cephalon.
Then there’s YouTube, where a funny video series for the impotence drug Levitra has been making the rounds.
Jeff Chester says the drug company marketers are counting on you to forward the funny video. And, he says, that’s the idea behind all these techniques.
“The key to viral, peer-to-peer marketing is to in fact send a message to your friends, that I like this drug,” he says. “It’s not Novartis sending you this widget. I’m sending you this information. I’ve endorsed it.”
Viral marketing may be okay for selling sneakers, Chester says, when it’s used to promote prescription drugs, he believes it can be dangerous.