Dr. Talya Weinstein is the head of dialysis unit at the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv. She specializes in nephrology with a special interest in lupos, and hypertension and hepatitis.
The doctors in her unit see medical sales representatives practically on a daily basis. With over 1000 beds at Sourasky there are always medical sales reps on the the floors. Because they’re selling, medical sales reps are also good sources of information on the latest studies and new pipeline of products. Nephrology is a high-science, interdisciplinary specialty and information is important to the nephrologists in her unit – information on evidence-based studies on drugs, adjacent and relevant information in other specialities like cardiology, tables of dosages for renal failure for example, and molecular and pharmacokinetics.
The darker side of medical sales is off-label promotion – promoting a drug for an indication that is not on the “label” in order to boost sales.
Adriane Fugh-Berman and Douglas Melnick talk about Off-Label Promotion, On-Target Sales
In the pharmaceutical industry, there are two ways to market an approved drug for a new use: the “indication” route, performing studies necessary for regulatory approval, or the “publication” strategy, which stimulates off-label prescribing by using research “to disseminate the information as widely as possible through the world’s medical literature”
Steinman MA, Bero LA, Chren MM, Landefeld CS (2006) Narrative review: The promotion of gabapentin: An analysis of internal industry documents. Ann Intern Med 145: 284–293.
Pharmaceutical companies want to be ethical but there are threats to ethical behavior: the need to approve a drug quickly and grow sales by applying drugs to off-label indications.
Although use of social media for marketing by pharmaceutical companies is problematic due to regulation, a pharma can lead a dialog with physicians and patients in the setting of private social networking for healthcare and proactively mitigate the risk of off-label marketing.
Private social networking for healthcare provides well known medical authorities with a controlled and moderated channel for blogging. The blogs feature independent opinions, and are moderated; ensuring that the industry experts are able to provide objective information on efficacy of drugs and evidence-based prescription and help pharmas comply with FDA regulation prohibiting off-label promotion.
Additional content on a social network for healthcare is similar to Facebook groups, providing practical dosage guidelines according to drug indications, the latest evidence-based studies and data on pharmacokinetics.
Private social networking for healthcare lets everyone have their cake and eat it to: provide busy specialists like Dr. Weinstein and her team with scientific data, provide the pharmaceutical companies with a controlled channel for distributing information and provides patients with a source of reliable evidenc
- Increase patient confidence
- Give you complete privacy
- Increased compliance
- Better outcomes