Healthcare: At a Glance - Pharma company enters blog revolution

Is GlaxoSmithKline into blogging now?

YES - GSK's French arm has just started a weblog called Avenir de la Sante (The Future of Health), which is aimed at stimulating debate over plans to reform the country's healthcare system. Veronique Delvolve, public affairs director for GSK in France, initiated the blog, which is written in French only, to promote wider understanding of the issues.

Mon dieu! So is 'le blog' the first of many for GSK?

If you think GSK CEO Jean-Pierre Garnier - or anyone else at the firm - is going to be writing online soon about their pets or favourite rock tracks you'll be disappointed. 'This is a specific initiative in France to show that GSK is getting involved in the debate,' a spokesperson explains.

'It allows us to engage directly with stakeholders, such as patients, to listen to what they have to say.' But no more blogs are planned from GSK.

Could a blog be the summer's must-have in healthcare comms?

In all honesty, it doesn't seem likely that blogging will be this year's clinical trials register but there are signs that interest is increasing.

Only this week, healthcare specialist Chandler Chicco Agency was due to hold a seminar on blogs, for example. But healthcare PR specialists sounded out by PRWeek have not been overwhelmed with requests from clients to create blogs.

So maybe healthcare and blogspots don't mix?

The point is, they do - at least when it comes to putting the boot in to companies. Indeed, some pharma firms might be breathing sighs of relief that Michael Lascelles, the blogger behind Pharma Watch over the last three years, is now on 'sabbatical'.

But there are plenty of sites out there, such as thediabetesblog.com, pharmablogger.blogspot.com and the Health Care Blog. Even though pharma companies themselves aren't yet joining the blogosphere in big numbers, bloggers are active on a number of healthcare issues.

Further information www.avenirdelasante.fr.

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