Social pharma

Activity is heating up in the social pharma arena just as the FDA meeting approaches next week. A few concrete examples of progress on the engagement front.

Lilly Oncology on CanvasLilly used Twitter to promote its Oncology on Canvascompetition, now in its fifth year. Lilly launched this "Expressions of a Cancer Journey Art Competition and Exhibition" in 2004 to acknowledge those affected by cancer, including patients, caregivers, friends and family members. The artwork from last year's contest is on the site - really quite lovely.

Boehringer Ingelheim teamed up with our friends at the Diabetes Hands Foundation (we profiled Manny Hernandez way back when...) to create a video contest called Making Sense of Diabetes. The objective is to help people open up about what living with diabetes feels like. DHF asked entrants, "What does diabetes taste, smell or sound like to you?" The videos were to focus on the impact of diabetes through one of the five senses. You can see the winning videos on TuDiabetes and they will also be played on World Diabetes Day, November 14th. Even the press release announcing the competition made good use of social media.

And while not as concrete, Human Genome Sciences and GSK have publicly stated that digital communications and social media will play a big role in launching Benlysta, a lupus drug in late-stage Phase 3. The companies hope to file with FDA in early 2010. According to a piece I read in Medical Marketing & Media, an exec at HGS confirmed that online will factor heavily into the marketing plan. “A lot of what advocacy groups do is through websites and other online forums. Patients organize themselves through social media. Through various kinds of online dissemination of information, we will put appropriate things out there."