My friend and fellow social media evangelist Eileen O'Brien has launched a weekly Tweetchat about social media and pharma. I stumbled upon it on Wednesday night (1/6) and joined in near the end when Eileen mentioned AZ Helps - a sort of help desk offering from AstraZeneca that uses Twitter. I didn't even know about it so quickly looked at their Twitter page. AZ is monitoring Twitter and doing proactive outreach to posters who mention problems with access to Nexium or even adverse events. The posts are primarily this: @[twitteruser]: Saw your tweet about access to NEXIUM® (esomeprazole magnesium) AstraZeneca may be able to help. Call us@ 800-236-9933. One, however, said this: @[twitteruser]: call AstraZeneca @800-236-9933 to report any side effects you had when taking NEXIUM® (esomeprazole magnesium).
Eileen asked the group whether they felt AZ was violating the privacy of the Tweeter by reaching out publicly? I piped in, as did others, to say that I did not feel that was the case because the poster put it out on Twitter, a public forum. Thus he/she should not expect privacy. Others chimed in with different perspectives - totally fine - as well as comments about how bland AZ Helps is and that is not really social interaction.
I disagree and want to publicly applaud AZ. We keep lambasting pharma for not doing anything or not doing enough. Here AZ is doing everything we preach: monitoring, interacting and engaging. They are not ignoring people who may have trouble gaining access to their drug or who may have had an adverse event. They are giving them proper information and a mechanism by which to potentially resolve their issues. What is more social than that?
So come on - give credit where it's due.
By the way, congratulations to Eileen who recently joined Siren Interactive as Director of Search and Innovation. Join her next Wednesday at 8pm Eastern for the next Tweetchat and remember to use #SocPharm in your posts. You can jump in or just observe. As @Doctor_V put it: I'm lurking #SocPharm.