Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry criticised over digital comms guide

Healthcare communicators remain cautious about the use of digital and social media, despite recently updated guidance from the UK pharmaceutical watchdog.

Robert Anderson: canvassed healthcare PROs online
Robert Anderson: canvassed healthcare PROs online

In June, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry published new guidelines designed to clarify best practices in the monitoring and management of social and digital media in the pharma industry.

However, many healthcare comms professionals believe the guidance has failed to clarify what the industry can and cannot do with digital comms.

According to Robert Anderson, Weber Shandwick’s head of digital comms, many senior health PROs also feel the continued lack of clarity is making it difficult for marketing and comms teams to secure funding for digital projects for healthcare clients. Anderson said the feeling was shared by many working within the healthcare communications field.

In an informal online survey, Anderson said he uncovered a ‘clear sense of disappointment’ among marketing and comms professionals.

‘Two-thirds of the staff I spoke to said the ABPI’s guidance has not clarified the dos and don’ts of social media in consumer-facing comms activities,’ said Anderson. ‘The consensus seems to be that business sponsors are not committing to long-term funding because of the uncertainty and this creates a vicious cycle.’

Digital has continued to influence the healthcare comms agenda in the past 12 months. Commenting on PRWeek’s healthcare league table results, Chandler Chicco Companies European MD Fiona Hall said the firm’s digital work had been a key focus of its business during 2010.

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