Pharma insight on digital marketing, social media, mobile apps, online video, websites and interactive healthcare tools
by Dominic Tyer
They join healthcare professionals in contributing to company’s new Bayer Diabetes Care blog
An extreme snowboarder and an English literature graduate, both of whom have type 1 diabetes, are among the team of bloggers Bayer has assembled for its new UK blog.
They will contribue to the Bayer Diabetes Care blog, details of which can be found in the Digital Handbook's Pharma Social Media Directory.
Bayer Diabetes Care, which markets a range of blood glucose meters including the Nintendo-compatible Diget, said its blog would include perspectives from its newly-formed BDC panel.
This group comprises healthcare professionals and people with diabetes that Bayer has recruited – and will pay – to provide blog content and comments.
They include professional snowboarder Chris Southwell and English literature graduate and 'self-confessed rebel' Lara Wahab, who both have type 1 diabetes, in common with all the BDC patient representatives.
Also on the panel are Dr Ellie Cannon, the resident GP for the Mail on Sunday and Woman Magazine and Susan Down, diabetes nurse consultant at Somerset Partnership Foundation Trust.
Encouragingly, Bayer's new blog does allow comments – a particular point of contention under UK pharma rules, although in order to post them visitors must first register for a free membership of bayerdiabetes.co.uk.
The Bayer Diabetes Care blog went live last month and so far topics have included triathlon training, diabetes management, and children and diabetes.
In time, Bayer said it would look to cover “everything from the day-to-day realities of diabetes management and monitoring, to personal experiences about diet and fitness”.
A spokesperson at Bayer Diabetes Care said: “We hope that the launch of the Bayer Diabetes Care blog will bring together people with diabetes and healthcare professionals by offering an insight into the treatment and management of diabetes, as well as patients' own personal experiences.
“We want the blog to act as an interactive online space where people can share their concerns and experiences with other people who have diabetes and contribute their own comments, questions and experiences.”
The only example to date is the Roche-sponsored My Diary From Down Under, a blog about the smear test and cervical cancer written by a UK journalist who posted updates for three weeks in June, 2011.
UK pharma blogs and the ABPI Code of Practice
Last year the UK's Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) published informal guidance on pharma's use of digital communications that made specific mention of blogs.
The key points in the guidance were:
• If a company issues a blog then the content needs to comply with the Code
• If a company were to sponsor a blog about a medicine or a therapy area, then it would need to be careful to ensure that all of the information contributed complied with the Code and declare its sponsorship
• Pharmaceutical companies should not sponsor blogs is they are intended, or could reasonably be expected, to discuss medicines and their uses, as it would be impossible to guarantee their compliance with the Code