Is Pharma Getting the Best out of Social Media? - Pharmaceutical Technology

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PharmTech Europe

Is Pharma Getting the Best out of Social Media?
With social media receiving increased focus as the pharma industry strives to make the most of new communication technologies, we speak with Cognizant's Bhaskar Sambasivan to find out where pharma is when it comes to social media implementation and what more should be being done.

Pharmaceutical Technology Europe
Volume 24, Issue 6

Meanwhile, Johnson and Johnson has created an active social presence that utilises a blog focused on stories of employees, wellness information, and corporate content. The blog contains robust content and is supplemented with YouTube and Facebook pages on corporate social responsibility initiatives and its involvement in social causes.

How important is it for companies to harness social media?

Most companies understand that social media is important, but the challenge is in making it work for the business. The majority of companies have established Twitter feeds and branded Facebook pages, but few have a complete grasp on exactly how to use social media to interact with consumers, improve products, services and brand recognition and, ultimately, drive sales and profitability.

The potential of social media is unlimited due to the diverse nature of available platforms, and with their experience in data collection and applied analytics, pharmaceutical companies are well placed to address the challenges of social media. However, pharmaceutical companies need to continue to invest in social media and exploit its use in new areas.

Pharmaceutical companies already have the experience required to manage data collection, applied analytics and generate businesses insights. Furthermore, new, flexible processes such as adaptive design provide frameworks that can be applied to other business areas, as well as enable more cost-efficient and decision-oriented ways of operating.

However, like other new technologies social media tools need to be managed into the workplace to release the process innovation potential and new ways of working within Regulatory constraints. The new ‘millennial’ workforce represents a generation of employees that are accustomed to using social media applications on an everyday basis, and by giving them the right tools to replicate their digital lives in the workplace, it can truly improve an organisation’s overall performance if coordinated. The main point is to identify those business processes that will benefit from a social application or improved social interaction, so they can operate more efficiently and effectively.

Pharmaceutical companies have always depended on technology partners for innovation and consulting capability to ensure coherence of new ways of working:

  • Partners and suppliers are making strategic investments to bring value to the ecosystem in social media and analytics. An example is Sanofi Aventis funding of, a behaviour analytics firm, who developed an innovative approach aligned to crowdsourcing. It works whereby a big pharmaceutical companies is asks patients, physicians, and any other stakeholders what they think matters most and that pharmaceutical company funds external developers to come up with ideas to address the problem as the crowd would like to see it addressed.
  • Cognizant has been working with pharmaceutical customers for the last decade, and has invested heavily in adopting social media technologies as part of key business processes and IT environments.

Bhaskar Sambasivan is vice president and head of life sciences, Europe, Cognizant.


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