Pharma rocks many Twitter handles for many reasons

The Twittersphere is lousy with pharma feeds. Count them up, as Eye on FDA recently did, and 44 drugmakers operate 200 Twitter accounts, and the number appears to be growing as pharma companies raise their online profiles and tailor their social media strategies.

For pharma, there appears to be a trend toward Twitter diversification. Drugmakers are operating multiple handles, with many of the feeds serving specific purposes such as job recruitment, disease awareness and product focus. Eye on FDA found that 23 of the 44 drugmakers on Twitter manage more than one handle, and one of them rocks 21 accounts. 

Pharma has generally approached social media with a mix of excitement and trepidation. Here's a way to reach a target audience on an individualized level, tweeting about diabetes to diabetics, say, or broadcasting job openings to the jobless. Yet there are gray areas around how to operate in the realm of the social web, calling for careful stewardship of Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, where the possibility exists for companies to have their products and profiles dragged through the digital mud.

The FDA has begun to shed light on how pharma and device outfits should navigate online territories like Twitter without running into trouble with the agency, released draft guidance in December on how to deal with off-label communications and other limited issues. Drugmakers appear to have taken the advice to heart, setting up regional Twitter handles by country and focusing some others on philanthropy and non-product goals.

- see the Eye on FDA item

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