Roche engages patient groups in social media effort

Roche ($RHHBY) means it when it says it wants to be a good social media listener. As PMLive reported, the Swiss drug giant recently held a summit called Share+ in the U.K. with patient groups and others to discuss social media and its role in healthcare communications.

Drugmakers have made use of such platforms as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to engage with patients and doctors and members of the press. In fact, there are so many potential social platforms today that it can be challenging to choose which ones are appropriate in certain cases.

"It's about trying not to do everything at once and instead selecting those relevant channels for the audience that they need to communicate to, to then ensure they can reach their target group," Roche U.K.'s digital lead, David McCormick, told PMLive. "It's also about being comfortable in knowing that it's a safe environment and not a massive risk that they're going to be undertaking."

Roche is among a growing number of European and U.S. pharma giants that have been experimenting with new forms of digital communication as patients and doctors flock to online destinations for information. Pharma groups have been eager to serve as resources to patient groups while walking the fine line between marketing and providing useful information about diseases and health topics. Some patients and advocates have been cautious about trusting information from pharma.

"More and more patients, members of the public and even healthcare professionals are going online to find information," McCormick said, as quoted by PMLive. "It's becoming one of the largest channels in which they're appropriating, and understanding, disease states or information about their health environment."

- see part 1 and part 2 of PMLive's report