Blogging Trends in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Blogging is now one of the easiest ways to get a message out to your audience. Readers can read and bookmark a blog and get content when they want it, or subscribe to your posts via an RSS feed and have content pushed to them when it is available. There are lots of free open-source solutions that give you the freedom to create, publish, and maintain your content any way you want. Blogs about the pharmaceutical industry abound; but pharmaceutical companies, with all their legal, regulatory, and FDA compliance concerns, have been apprehensive about embracing this fast paced content.

There are lots of blogs about the Pharmaceutical industry. Pharmalot is a blog by The Star-Ledger’s Ed Silverman that keeps up with pharmaceutical industry news. RXBlog also tries to stay on top of pharma industry news. The Pharma Marketing Blog is an op ed for John Mack, the editor in chief of the Pharma Marketing News e-newsletter. CafePharma is another popular website targeting pharmaceutical sales professionals, and has a blog called Pharmagather, that attempts to centralize pharma blog articles from all over the web. These are all great, but are not blogs from the pharmaceutical industry. Pharma companies need to have their own presence in the blogosphere.

Nutra Pharma, a small biotech company, announced that it was re-launching its corporate blog at the ned of February, 2008. Nutra Pharma’s blog has been around since 2006, but has not gotten much attention. Posts are infrequent, very brief, cover a very narrow scope, is buried within its corporate site, and quite frankly are coming from a small biotech company.

Centocor, a company owned by Johnson & Johnson, is going through lots of transformations, both in its pipeline and in its organizational structure within its parent company. It has launched a blog, CNTO411, in an effort to stay closer to its patients, its partners, and the blogosphere. It was launched just this March, has gotten a lot of press, and is leading the way in pharma blogging.

GlaxoSmithKline has released alliconnect, a blog about its new OTC weight loss drug, alli. They are touting the blog as, “place for you to have a conversation with us about weight loss issues.” It is geared towards the drug, but also at the disease state, and invites its patients to freely comment on the posts.

Johnson & Johnson has also tried to harness the power of blogging. Earlier this month, J&J organized and held an event for blogging mothers called Camp Baby 2008. The event was designed to reach out to bloggers who had complained about J&J and their products in the blogosphere and have a two way dialog. The mothers were flown in free, were fed at the 5-star restaurant “The Frog and the Peach” and were the recipients of lots of swag. Throughout the process, there were lots of bumps and bruises along the way on both sides, as The Star Ledger article describes, but dialog channels were open and J&J claims this as a positive event for all.

The blogosphere offers great benefits to pharma, biopharma, and biotech companies. The only barrier to entry is the aversion to risk. These four companies have taken the risk, and are seeing benefits on all different points of the continuum. But as the adage goes – No Risk, No Reward.

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