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Social Analytics Helps Pharma Companies Keep Watch Over Social Media

Social media represents both a major opportunity and a compliance risk for U.S. pharmaceutical companies. On one hand, social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram can provide invaluable intelligence on how customers ― and the public at large ― view a drug producer and its competitors. Knowing if public sentiment is generally positive or negative can have a huge impact on public relations activities and other key business decisions. On the other hand, social media monitoring can reveal complaints about a particular prescription or OTC product ― known in industry parlance as “adverse events” ― that, under law, require immediately submitting a formal report to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA regulations on the reporting of “adverse events” help protect public health and safety by flagging problems that might have been missed during clinical tests. But the unintended consequence of this policy is that many drug makers choose to simply stay away from social media under the assumption that what they don’t know can’t hurt them… or at least not commit them to spending time and money reporting on adverse events that might otherwise fail to show up on their corporate radar.

But in today’s social media-centric world, can a pharmaceutical company ― can any company ― ignore what people are saying about it on social media? On the other hand, why intentionally open this regulatory can of worms? Perhaps ignorance is, indeed, bliss.

If only there was a magic pill that could ease the discomfort caused by FDA regulations imposed on the pharmaceutical industry regarding social media. Good news: There is.


Enter Social Analytics

Social Analytics is a machine learning-based tool for social media analysis for research and planning. It provides a whole-picture view of the Twitter conversations that affect your market to help inform your business decisions.

Sensitive to the stringent regulations under which pharmaceutical companies operate, Northern Light can create a version of Social Analytics that deletes references to a particular drug or set of drugs so the benefits of social media analysis can be realized without triggering any information that would trigger a regulatory reporting requirement. This allows a pharmaceutical company to observe what the national conversation is around diseases they produce products for without seeing tweets or posts about their particular products. (These are automatically removed.)

Social Analytics is not social media monitoring, but is social media reporting, as the reviews are not done in “real time.” But the reports are still extremely current ― usually reflecting activity over the past 24 hours ― so the results are both relevant and actionable.

A Shot in the Arm for Your Social Media Presence

Social Analytics allows pharmaceutical companies to get a clear view of customer sentiments, concerns, hashtags, and co-occurrences while avoiding seeing information that requires a formal report.

If your pharmaceutical company is sick and tired of missing out on the potential of social media, Social Analytics from Northern Light is just what the doctor ordered. For more information Social Analytics, click here to get started. Or contact us to start a conversation.

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