Doctors to partner drugs firms

Online collaboration between drug companies and doctors in the UK could become standard practice, it was predicted this week.

Smith: more online alliances
Smith: more online alliances

Fleishman-Hillard’s senior account manager and digital consultant James Smith spoke to PRWeek after Pfizer revealed details of a new partnership with online doctors’ forum Sermo in the US. Some observers have claimed that Pfizer’s participation goes against the site’s original ideology.

Smith acknowledged that there are fewer physician-networking sites in the UK than in the US and that a more stringent code of practices in the UK limits what they can do. ‘But in the long term these types of partnerships may well become the norm,’ he said.

More collaborations of this kind would present healthcare PROs with futher opportunities to get their message across to doctors.

‘Pharma companies are subject to online discussion and scrutiny every day, and without an online voice they are simply not part of the dialogue,’ said Smith.

But the idea is yet to take off in the UK. UK-based online physician community Independent Doctors Forum (IDF) has corporate sponsors including GlaxoSmithKline. Content is limited to links to their company websites. IDF’s administrator Fiona Merrick said: ‘It is not an alliance and any links with companies are subtle.’

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