“Consumer Generated Content” (CGC) or “User Generated Content,” (UGC) has become the current hot topic. The Internet, an interactive technology, is enabling conversations among people, which were not possible in the era of mass media. People are conveying their opinions, perspectives, humorous asides etc. Thanks to the web!, markets are becoming better informed and demanding more qualities.

This interactive technology plays a vital role in Pharmaceutical industry. These industries are exploiting the use of social media for their marketing. Pharmaceutical marketing is no longer a matter of simply pushing a message to physicians and consumers. It is making use of public and interactive technology for business solutions. Establishing a dialogue between consumers and a company’s medical experts has created an opportunity for the industry to dispel some of the mistrust that would have built up in the public’s perception.

The Internet is more like TV, as it includes streaming audio, video (eg, podcasts), animations and other programs that engage viewers like TV does, but also allows them to interact with the advertisement in ways that are not possible with TV.

The new media with well established features such as Websites, blogs and forums, file sharing and e-messaging allow public to discuss and debate on drugs, health care etc.

For instance, recently, Pfizer’s Chantix was in the news for posing the psychiatric side effects. The news got skimmed across and the people from different parts, started conveying their message with reference to their views as well as the experience with Chantix through blogs. Blogs are a good way to monitor problems and alert people on such problems.

Online communities around particular disease states are now being generated within popular social networking sites, such as MySpace.com. This presents another opportunity for pharmaceutical manufacturers to get involved in the area where people are gathering.

Some companies have realized that sponsoring blogs dedicated to particular disease states is a good way to reach consumers. Amgen Inc., for example, promotes its own disease-education Website – chemotherapy.com, with a sponsored link on thecancerblog.com.

Presently, every industry is thinking about how to get involved in the interactive space. I feel the use of interactive technology will provide more ease and personalization and can be a legitimate vehicle for marketing.

By Prashanthi