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UCB launches Facebook-based community for Parkinson’s patients

Will feature a reality video series showing real families living with the condition

UCB

UCB has launched a new US community for patients with Parkinson's disease and their families to help them learn more about the range of symptoms associated with the neurological condition.

Based around the Parkinson's More Than Motion Facebook page, the campaign will feature what the company says is a unique series of reality videos showing real families living with the condition.

The campaign's launch comes just weeks after the biopharmaceutical company's Neupro (rotigotine) won a new indication in the US to treat the signs and symptoms of advanced stage idiopathic Parkinson's. Previously it had only been available for the early stage of the disease.

The launch of the US Facebook page comes just weeks after Janssen UK closed its Psoriasis 360 Facebook page. The company blamed the amount of posts that had to be removed and the stifling effect this had on discussions, but it had also lost a key member of staff late last year.

A further issue for UCB was highlighted by new research showing that pharma-sponsored social media sites tend to be much less popular than their community-run equivalents.

PwC found Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and YouTube channels run by online consumer communities showed 24 times more activity than those run by health industry companies in the US.

But, the consultants noted, interactions on industry-run sites were “high-quality touchpoints” and it is the lure of these, along with the opportunity to drive conversations, that persuades pharma to use these channels.

However, UCB's new community will have a lot of online competition from more established sites like NeuroTalk, the National Parkinson Foundation's forum and PatientsLikeMe, among others.

Parkinson's affects one million people in the US, with symptoms typically categorised as either affecting motor function or non-motor function, the latter of which include cognitive changes, depression and sleep disorders.

Most people are diagnosed with the condition when they are in their sixties, which means UCB's Facebook community is likely to be used most by carers who are younger than this.

Last year the Pew Internet Project found that just 42 per cent of seniors go online and of those, 33 per cent of people aged 65 and over used social networking sites (compared to 65 per cent of all online adults who use these sites).

UCB's More Than Motion campaign will also feature off-line elements in the shape of a free magazine that will offer “helpful resources and stories from real people”.

26th April 2012

From: Marketing

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