GSK strikes deal to listen in on social media chatter

GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) wants to know what consumers are saying about the drugmaker online. The London-based drug giant has inked a multi-million dollar deal with InfoSys ($INFY) and Fabric Worldwide to gain insights into peoples' views about GSK products on social media and its website to focus its digital marketing efforts, Reuters reported.

The partnership supports GSK's creation of what it calls "Global Digital Services," which enable the company to deliver information securely to a variety of online destinations, according to InfoSys' press release. With the platform from InfoSys and Fabric, GSK will be able to use analytics to understand target markets and "and listen to consumers across an array of digital channels." 

Social media has created a new frontier for pharma companies to reach target audiences, but the rules of the road in the social networking arena have been somewhat hazy for Big Pharma. The FDA, which late last year shed light on how companies should address consumers online about off-label uses of products, is expected to provide further guidance on proper interactions online. Yet many major drugmakers have been carefully building up their presences on Facebook and Twitter in the meantime.

"We recognize that our customers, consumers and other external stakeholders increasingly want to engage with us on-line," Phil Benton, GSK's vice president of Global Digital Services, said in a statement. "Global Digital Services will enable us to provide globally standard processes, scalable assets and advanced analytics to support better and more efficient engagement with these external audiences."

- here's the release
- check out the Reuters report
- and InPharm's article