Wednesday, December 10, 2008

America's Pharmaceutical Research Companies Enhance Voluntary Guidelines on Direct-to-Consumer Advertising

America's Pharmaceutical Research Companies Enhance Voluntary Guidelines
on Direct-to-Consumer Advertising

Washington, D.C. (December 10, 2008) - Affirming its commitment to
responsible direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising that benefits public
health, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)
Board of Directors has adopted measures to strengthen the PhRMA Guiding
Principles on Direct to Consumer Advertisements about Prescription

PhRMA's voluntary Guiding Principles, which originally went into effect
in January 2006, provide guidance to pharmaceutical research and
biotechnology companies on ways to ensure that DTC communications
provide accurate, accessible and useful information to patients and

In numerous studies and surveys, DTC advertising has been shown to play
a key role in educating and empowering patients, improving patient
understanding of disease and available treatments, and fostering strong
relationships between patients and their healthcare providers. By
facilitating patient-physician interactions, DTC advertising helps
reduce undiagnosed and under-treated serious conditions such as
diabetes, hypertension and depression, benefiting not only individual
patients but the entire healthcare system.

Reflecting feedback from physician groups, policymakers and other
stakeholders, the revised Guiding Principles are part of an ongoing
effort to enhance the educational potential of DTC communications, while
maintaining respect for the patient-provider relationship. Generally,
the revised Principles address aspects of DTC ranging from healthcare
professionals and celebrities featured in advertisements, to
presentation of balanced benefit and risk information, to the
appropriate timing and placement of advertisements with adult-oriented

"Pharmaceutical research companies for years have voluntarily exceeded
regulatory requirements for direct-to-consumer advertising of
prescription medicines," said PhRMA President and CEO Billy Tauzin. "Our
Guiding Principles help ensure that DTC advertising appropriately and
accurately conveys important information about medical conditions,
medicines and other treatment options."

"Through these strengthened Principles, we renew our commitment to work
with the Food and Drug Administration and healthcare professionals to
further enhance the value of balanced DTC education for consumers and
patients," added Tauzin.

The revised Principles, which take effect March 2, 2009, include the
following enhancements:

A new principle states that DTC product advertisements featuring actors
in the roles of healthcare professionals should identify that actors are
being used. If actual healthcare professionals are featured and are
compensated for their appearance, the advertisement should acknowledge
the compensation.

An added principle provides that DTC television or print advertisements
featuring a celebrity endorser should accurately reflect the opinions,
findings, beliefs or experience of the endorser. Companies should
maintain verification of the basis of any actual or implied endorsement,
including whether the endorser is or has been a user of the product.

A new principle highlights the legal requirement that DTC print
advertisements should include FDA's MedWatch number for reporting of
potential adverse events and DTC television advertisements should
include the company's toll-free number or refer patients to a print
advertisement that contains the MedWatch number.

An existing principle regarding education of health professionals prior
to a DTC campaign for a new medicine or indication is expanded to add
that companies should consider individually setting specific periods of
time for education before launching a branded DTC campaign.

A revised principle includes language strengthening guidance related to
the content and placement of DTC advertisements with adult-oriented
content. Specifically, the new version states that DTC television or
print advertisements "containing content that may be inappropriate for
children" should be placed in programs or publications "reasonably
expected to draw an audience of approximately 90 percent adults (18
years or older)."

An existing requirement addressing risk-benefit balance in DTC
advertising is strengthened to specify that risks and safety
information, including the substance of relevant boxed warnings, should
be "presented with reasonably comparable prominence to the benefit
information, in a clear, conspicuous and neutral manner, and without
distraction from the content."

Other revisions to the Guiding Principles include: a clarification that
companies should "not promote medicines for off-label uses, including in
DTC advertisements"; a revised principle requiring companies to seek and
consider feedback from healthcare professionals and consumers during the
development of new DTC ad campaigns "to gauge the educational impact for
patients and consumers"; a revised principle stating that in light of
inherent limits on the amount of information that can be conveyed in a
DTC television communications, television advertisements should direct
consumers to print advertisements and/or web sites where they can find
additional benefit and risk information; and strengthened language
calling for companies to include messages about help for the uninsured
and underinsured in DTC communications.

As with the original version, the revised Principles envision that
PhRMA's Office of Accountability will collect comments about DTC
advertisements and issue periodic reports to the public and FDA. In
addition, recognizing that there is room for enhanced public
accountability for DTC advertising, the new Guiding Principles provide
that company CEOs and Compliance Officers will certify each year that
they have processes in place to comply with the Principles. PhRMA will
post on its web site a list of all companies that announce their pledge
to follow the Principles and information about the status of companies'
annual certifications.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How Obama Tapped Into Social Networks' Power

November 10, 2008
The Media Equation

How Obama Tapped Into Social Networks’ Power (New York Times)

In February 2007, a friend called Marc Andreessen, a founder of Netscape and a board member of Facebook, and asked if he wanted to meet with a man with an idea that sounded preposterous on its face.

Always game for something new, Mr. Andreessen headed to the San Francisco airport late one night to hear the guy out. A junior member of a large and powerful organization with a thin, but impressive, résumé, he was about to take on far more powerful forces in a battle for leadership.

He wondered if social networking, with its tremendous communication capabilities and aggressive database development, might help him beat the overwhelming odds facing him.

“It was like a guy in a garage who was thinking of taking on the biggest names in the business,” Mr. Andreessen recalled. “What he was doing shouldn’t have been possible, but we see a lot of that out here and then something clicks. He was clearly supersmart and very entrepreneurial, a person who saw the world and the status quo as malleable.”

And as it turned out, President-elect Barack Obama was right.

Like a lot of Web innovators, the Obama campaign did not invent anything completely new. Instead, by bolting together social networking applications under the banner of a movement, they created an unforeseen force to raise money, organize locally, fight smear campaigns and get out the vote that helped them topple the Clinton machine and then John McCain and the Republicans.

As a result, when he arrives at 1600 Pennsylvania, Mr. Obama will have not just a political base, but a database, millions of names of supporters who can be engaged almost instantly. And there’s every reason to believe that he will use the network not just to campaign, but to govern. His e-mail message to supporters on Tuesday night included the line, “We have a lot of work to do to get our country back on track, and I’ll be in touch soon about what comes next.” The incoming administration is already open for business on the Web at, a digital gateway for the transition.

The Bush campaign arrived at the White House with a conviction that it would continue a conservative revolution with the help of Karl Rove’s voter lists, phone banks and direct mail. But those tools were crude and expensive compared with what the Obama camp is bringing to the Oval Office.

“I think it is very significant that he was the first post-boomer candidate for president,” Mr. Andreessen said. “Other politicians I have met with are always impressed by the Web and surprised by what it could do, but their interest sort of ended in how much money you could raise. He was the first politician I dealt with who understood that the technology was a given and that it could be used in new ways.”

The juxtaposition of a networked, open-source campaign and a historically imperial office will have profound implications and raise significant questions. Special-interest groups and lobbyists will now contend with an environment of transparency and a president who owes them nothing. The news media will now contend with an administration that can take its case directly to its base without even booking time on the networks.

More profoundly, while many people think that President-elect Obama is a gift to the Democratic Party, he could actually hasten its demise. Political parties supply brand, ground troops, money and relationships, all things that Mr. Obama already owns.

And his relationships are not the just traditional ties of Democrats — teachers’ unions, party faithful and Hollywood moneybags — but a network of supporters who used a distributed model of phone banking to organize and get out the vote, helped raise a record-breaking $600 million, and created all manner of media clips that were viewed millions of times. It was an online movement that begot offline behavior, including producing youth voter turnout that may have supplied the margin of victory.

Thomas Jefferson used newspapers to win the presidency, F.D.R. used radio to change the way he governed, J.F.K. was the first president to understand television, and Howard Dean saw the value of the Web for raising money,” said Ranjit Mathoda, a lawyer and money manager who blogs at “But Senator Barack Obama understood that you could use the Web to lower the cost of building a political brand, create a sense of connection and engagement, and dispense with the command and control method of governing to allow people to self-organize to do the work.”

All of the Obama supporters who traded their personal information for a ticket to a rally or an e-mail alert about the vice presidential choice, or opted in on Facebook or MyBarackObama can now be mass e-mailed at a cost of close to zero. And instead of the constant polling that has been a motor of presidential governance, an Obama White House can use the Web to measure voter attitudes.

“When you think about it, a campaign is a start-up business,” Mr. Mathoda said. “Other than his speech in 2004 at the convention and his two books, Mr. Obama had very little in terms of brand to begin with, and he was up against Senator Clinton, who had all the traditional sources of power, and then Senator McCain. But he had the right people and the right idea to take them on. When you think about it, it was like he was going up against Google and Yahoo. And he won.”

There is tremendous power in opening citizen access to government — think of how much good will and support Mayor Michael Bloomberg garnered by coming up with 311, a one-stop phone number for New Yorkers who had a problem.

But now Senator Obama’s 20-month conversation with the electorate enters a new phase. There is sense of ownership, a kind of possessive entitlement, on the part of the people who worked to elect him. The shorthand for his organizing Web site, “MyBO,” says it all.

“People will continue to expect a conversation, a two-way relationship that is a give and take,” said Thomas Gensemer, managing partner of Blue State Digital, which helped conceive and put into effect Obama’s digital outreach. “People who were part of the campaign will opt in to political or governing tracks and those relationships will continue in some form.”

The founders of America wanted a government that reflected its citizens, but would be at remove from the baser impulses of the mob. The mob, flush with victory, is at hand, but instead of pitchforks and lanterns, they have broadband and YouTube. Like every other presidency, the Obama administration will have its battles with the media, but that may seem like patty-cake if it runs afoul of the self-publishing, self-organizing democracy it helped create — say, by delaying health care legislation or breaking a promise on taxes.

That’s the thing about pipes today: they run both ways.

“It’s clear there has been a dramatic shift,” said Andrew Rasiej, the founder of the Personal Democracy Forum, an annual conference about the intersection of politics and technology. “Any politician who fails to recognize that we are in a post-party era with a new political ecology in which connecting like minds and forming a movement is so much easier will not be around long.

“Yes, we have met Big Brother, the one who is always watching. And Big Brother is us.”


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KPR to fold after losing out in J&J consolidation

KPR to fold after losing out in J&J consolidation

by Matthew Arnold / Medical Marketing & Media

November 25, 2008

One of medical advertising's oldest shops - KPR, founded in 1962 - will cease to operate as an independent agency, having lost most of its business in the Johnson & Johnson advertising consolidation.

The KPR brand could live on under the umbrella of an Omnicom sibling, said Pat Sloan, SVP and corporate director for Omnicom's Diversified Agency Services group. Some of KPR's core staff of around 40 may be transferred to other Omnicom agencies, including Harrison & Star, while others will be let go.

“It's still an iconic brand,” said Sloan. “The aim is that it could live on under another network. We're looking to redistribute talent wherever possible and minimize layoffs.”

The Omnicom professional shop, once one of the biggest names in medical advertising, had shrunk to a shadow of its former self in recent years. Its largest account was golimumab, a premarket human monoclonal antibody being developed by J&J's Centocor for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. WPP's Sudler & Hennessey will take on that business, sources said, and KPR's remaining assignments, including smaller accounts from Schering-Plough and Jazz Pharmaceuticals, could migrate to other Omnicom agencies.  

The agency's much larger Omnicom sibling Cline, Davis & Mann had a lot of J&J business, but boasts a broad client base and is well-equipped to weather the losses. Other big J&J agencies losing business in the consolidation include Razorfish and inVentiv's GSW.

J&J consolidated the advertising business on its prescription drug brands into WPP and Interpublic Group several weeks ago, following a three-month pitch pitting the winning holding companies against Omnicom, Publicis, HAVAS and inVentiv.

KPR was founded in 1962 by John Kallir, Jerry Phillips and MM&M editor-at-large Warren Ross. The shop's early successes included the launches of Haldol and Motrin, as well as a groundbreaking professional campaign that propelled Tylenol from sleepy treatment for pediatric fever to top-selling OTC analgesic. More recent assignments have included Sanofi-Aventis' Ketek and the launch of J&J's Risperdal Consta.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

DTC Spending Falls for Second Consecutive Year

DTC Spending Falls for Second Consecutive Year

Recession, Regulation and Fewer Blockbusters Mean Less Ads

NEW YORK ( -- Big pharma might not be so recession-proof, after all.

Throughout previous economic downturns in the advertising world, the one bellwether of hope was always the pharmaceutical industry. Even as the dot-com boom went bust in the early part of this decade, and overall ad spending began to drop, direct-to-consumer (DTC) spending by drug companies continued to rise every year.

But not this time.

According to a new study by TNS Media Intelligence, DTC spending is down for the second consecutive year and likely will not reach the $5 billion mark by the end of 2008 that many media companies had counted on.

Total down 6.3%
In "Advertising Investment Trend Report: Direct-to-Consumer Pharmaceutical Industry," TNS reports that in the first eight months of this year, total measured DTC ad spending was down 6.3% to $3.175 billion compared with the same time period last year. That projects to $4.76 billion in total spending through the end of 2008, compared with $5.26 billion in spending in 2007, which would be a drop of more than 9%.

DTC spending trends
1998 $1.2 billion
1999 $1.6 billion
2000 $2.5 billion
2001 $2.7 billion
2002 $2.6 billion
2003 $3.1 billion
2004 $4.4 billion
2005 $4.6 billion
2006 $5.4 billion
2007 $5.2 billion
2008 $4.7 billion*
*Projected by year's end
Source: PharmaMarketing News and TNS Media Intelligence

This would be the second consecutive year that DTC ad spending fell after reaching a peak of $5.4 billion in 2006.

"The pharmaceutical category is closely watched within the ad industry for indications of the health and direction of marketing budgets," Jon Swallen, senior VP Research for TNS Media Intelligence, says in the report. "When drug-makers sneeze, ad buyers and sellers worry about catching a cold."

They're probably worried about catching the flu right about now.

Non-branded worst off
TNS reports that the cutbacks were most pronounced in non-branded advertising by pharmaceutical houses, including their corporate promotion messages and ads to promote awareness of specific conditions. The annualized rate of spending for this segment has plummeted by 63% since 2006.

But DTC prescription ad spending was down 3.6% in the first eight months of the year. The projected $4.76 billion ad spend for this year is $700 million less than the peak of 2006 and is almost back to 2005 levels of $4.6 billion.

The reasons for the decline are many and varied. The economy is certainly one problem, with drug makers among the many companies slashing staff -- including sales reps.

Fewer drugs launched
In addition, pharmaceutical experts and observers have been saying for years that the drug pipeline in virtually every company is dry, which means fewer drugs are being brought to market. Simply put, the blockbusters just aren't there. In 2007, the top three marketing launches of the year -- Veramyst (allergy), Orencia (arthritis) and Vyvanse (ADHD) -- had a combined ad spend of $210 million. Compare that with 2006's top three of Rozerem (insomnia), Gardasil (cervical cancer) and Spiriva (allergies), which spent a combined $400 million. Or 2005's Lunesta (insomnia), AmbienCR (insomnia) and Boniva (osteoporosis), which had a combined ad spend of $594 million.

And, certainly, the continuing debate in Washington, D.C. regarding prescription medication safety, labeling and marketing restrictions remains a thorn in the side of the industry. With the increased Congressional scrutiny of the last three years, TNS found that the lag time between Food and Drug Administration approval of a new drug and its first appearance in a DTC ad campaign has increased dramatically -- from 6.1 months in 2004 to 12.4 months in 2007, and a projected 14.1 months for drugs introduced this year.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The identity crisis of today's ad agencies

The identity crisis of today's ad agencies

Industry experts discuss the evolving shape of the modern agency and debate the merits of hiring new digital talent vs. retraining their traditional counterparts.

Once upon a time, the phrase "advertising agency" conjuredup a very definite image -- one of smoked-filled rooms and mile-long conference tables, across which creative geniuses would rapid-fire pitches at one another in hopes of hitting on that one "big idea." It's the nostalgic scotch-soaked notion of the ad agency famously portrayed on the hit show "Mad Men."  

But that's not the modern agency. In fact, most industry participants today would be hard-pressed to define what exactly the phrase "the modern agency" means. However, few would argue that the digital revolution has forever changed the marketing game. And it's little wonder that many of today's advertising agencies are going through an identity crisis.

Large traditional creative shops are rethinking their offerings, expanding into all things digital. Agency holding companies are restructuring to better leverage their digital resources. And all the while, new digitally focused agencies continue to spring onto the scene.

So, during this time when the ad agency model is very much in flux, what is working?

Speaking on a Tuesday panel at ad:tech New York, Nancy Hill, president and CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, outlined three approaches that she's currently seeing marketers take when it comes to their agency relationships. The first model is one in which a client selects one lead entity -- at either the holding company or agency level -- and grants it the power to oversee all marketing efforts and partners. The second model is one in which the client itself assumes that leadership role. And the third model is one in which a client hires a slew of agencies and tells them to go collaborate.

"Two of the models work, and one of them absolutely does not," Hill said. The third model, she said, is destined to fail -- and yet it's the model being used most often. "And that's where the fighting comes in because there is no clear mission," Hill said, noting that it's imperative from a marketer's perspective to have one throat to choke at the end of the day.

Whether it's a specialized digital agency looking to broaden its client base or a traditional agency looking to expand its offerings into the interactive realm, few industry participants dispute that much of the future growth in marketing will come on the interactive side. Thus, panel moderator Suzanne Vranica, an advertising and marketing columnist for The Wall Street Journal, wondered aloud whether the potential growth of advertising agencies would be stifled by the lack of available digital talent in the job pool.

"In spite of the talent issue, everyone I have talked to has an open head count and is hiring," Hill responded. The trick, she added, is making the agency side of the marketing business attractive to candidates with the needed digital expertise.

Sean Finnegan, president and chief digital officer of Starcom MediaVest Group, pointed out that it's not all about recruiting new digital talent to the agency side of marketing. It's also about retraining industry veterans.

"We have people with 15 to 25 years in the business, and they are making a choice to change and adapt into this digital culture," he said. "Smart digital agencies are the ones that are embracing these people, involving them in the process, and training and educating them. They have a lot of intangible assets, and they bring a level of talent that some of the new digital folks just aren't going to pick up on the fly."

To this point, Tom Bedecarre, CEO of AKQA, disagreed with Finnegan. According to Bedecarre, hope for the future of digital marketing lies largely with the youth. "Young people who are coming up in the industry are so naturally cross-platform savvy," he said. "All this digital technology is human nature to young people. So I think we'll have more luck training new people than retraining old people."

Richard Guest, managing director, New York, at Tribal DDB Worldwide, sided with Finnegan on the issue of digital hires. "I think we have to separate technical expertise and knowledge from marketing expertise and knowledge," he said, noting that his agency has opted to retrain many marketers from the traditional agency side.

Beyond staffing for the digital future, Guest also noted that agencies must also find a way to clearly convey their value in an increasingly cluttered marketplace. When it comes to agencies, he said, clients are getting tired of having to listen to so many voices. "In a modern era, where consumers are increasingly skeptical, I think the best voices will rise to the top," he said.

But the shape that those "best voices" will take remains to be seen. To some extent, the continued evolution of the advertising agency is all about money, Bedecarre said.

"Traditional agencies see the handwriting on the wall -- that they're going to be out of business if they don't jump over to digital media and digital technology," he said. Marketers today are less likely to simply hire a traditional agency and a digital agency and then tell them to play nice together. The lines are blurring, and so are agency distinctions.

"It is about money and being relevant and not losing a seat at the table," Bedecarre said.


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Monday, October 27, 2008

As the Lines Blur, Digital Agencies Are Taking Lead

As the Lines Blur, Digital Agencies Are Taking Lead

Agency-of-Record Status Can Go to Anyone;  Just Ask Tribal or TequilaBy Rupal Parekh and Abbey Klaassen Published:

October 27, 2008  NEW YORK ( --
Digital agencies are not only being invited to pitch brands as agencies of record -- increasingly, they're winning.

Just last month, Tribal DDB was selected to lead global brand advertising for web security firm McAfee. Said the company's CMO, David Milam, at the time: "McAfee evaluated a number of agencies, and the team at Tribal DDB demonstrated strength in every aspect of their business. Not only did Tribal DDB have a number of great creative directions but, more importantly, they backed them up with strong strategic insights."

Liz Ross, president-Americas and global CMO, Tribal DDB Worldwide While most clients still seek best-in-class specialists for every discipline, more are showing interest in digital agencies to serve as the lead on integrated communications efforts, consultants said.

The uptick is particularly visible among marketers in the retail sector and other product categories where there is opportunity for e-commerce. What's more, clients are becoming less and less fixated on the type of agency handling their ad accounts and more on the individual brains behind the marketing campaigns.

On their own merits

Omnicom Group's Tequila, New York, this year was appointed the U.S. agency for VisitBritain, the national tourist office for England, Scotland and Wales; last spring IMC2 was tapped to handle all creative, media and strategy for Mars Direct, which makes personalized M&M's and Dove chocolates; and AKQA is getting ready to roll out TV and web campaigns for Flip, the sub-$100 digital video camera that has created amateur cinematographers out of the YouTube masses, as part of its agency-of-record duties.

Clients "don't care as much as we care about what kind of agency they are working with," said Liz Ross, president-Americas and global CMO, Tribal DDB Worldwide, which was invited to pitch Jose Cuervo tequila alongside traditional shops including Publicis Groupe's Bartle Bogle Hegarty and WPP Group's JWT.

"They are looking for a marketing partner and group of people that understand their business and their brand. A lot of the old, bigger agencies are trapped in their old structures, so it's really about who has the best talent."

"We've been the lead agency on a lot of projects, from small start-ups to very, very large companies," said Rick Webb, partner-chief operating officer, Barbarian Group. "The trend is definitely going on." Technology companies are another hot space for digital agencies to forge agency-of-record relationships, Mr. Webb said, citing his agency's AOR relationship with Adobe for its Photoshop Express product as an example. In addition to online duties, Barbarian Group also handles outdoor, guerrilla and word-of-mouth marketing efforts for the brand. "Digital shops are also shining through in those pitches because they get their products and their business.

A common brief is to drive traffic ... if they are talking to us or an AKQA vs. the Kaplan Thaler Group, [digital agencies] are going to have this natural advantage."

Shifting priorities

The choice to tap AKQA as agency of record last spring wasn't a knock on DDB, the agency it worked with to launch the brand in 2007, said Scott Kabat, director-marketing at Flip marketer Pure Digital. Instead it was a realization that the company's 2008 plans were going to be heavily focused on digital.

"We learned a lot through the process, and it made us really confident that AKQA, either in-house or working with partners, could deliver an integrated plan," he said. "We were impressed with their strategic insight and their ideas around a campaign platform."

The agency's first work was both digital and promotional, tying the Flip Mino to the Vans Warped concert tour. Upcoming holiday work will be a "combination of online, events and some TV presence -- but different than traditional TV advertising," said Mr. Kabat. Late last year, Forrester completed a study of several interactive agencies.

The report's author, Brian Haven, argued that interactive shops are closer to the consumer, in a better place to mine the rich insights and data available via the web, and in the right place at the right time to capture consumer behavior changes. Because of those things, interactive shops are poised to be the "foundation for all marketing efforts within the next five to 10 years," he wrote. But, he added, agencies have not yet reached the level of leadership they need.

Another difficulty: sibling rivalry. It may be easier for shops such as independent IMC2 or AKQA (owned by General Atlantic) to take on AOR duties since they don't have holding-company politics to contend with. And at least one top digital-agency executive said he thinks the movement toward digital-agency-as-full-agency-of-record has yet to take hold. "It's way too early to call it a trend," said Clark Kokich, CEO of Razorfish (formerly known as Avenue A/Razorfish). "But you are seeing certain select opportunities where it's becoming a real alternative for clients."

Laying groundwork

According to him, the move toward becoming a full agency of record is not an explicit strategy for the agency but an opportunity that can't be ignored. Razorfish does not have any full agency-of-record relationships but has poached a creative director and a planner from the likes of McCann Worldgroup and SS&K. Ultimately, whether or not to assign an interactive shop full agency-of-record duties is highly dependent on the client and its goals. A big offline product that's focused on brand messaging? You'll want to have a traditional agency of record. But, Mr. Kokich said, if the brand's identity and proposition live in the digital space, if a product involves a complex sale where online research is a big component, or if it's a very youth-focused marketer going after a demographic that lives largely in the digital space, it's not out of line to consider a digital shop as agency of record.

"Ten years from now, all agencies will be digital agencies," Mr. Kokich said. "The question is just what process people take to get there. We're both starting from different places, but we'll end up in the same place."

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Why Pharma Fears Social Networking

Why Pharma Fears Social Networking

Oct 19, 2008

By Jim Edwards (Brand Week)

Although a majority of marketers have embraced online social media and user-generated content efforts, one industry is conspicuously not taking advantage of the gold rush: pharmaceuticals.

Drug brand Web sites almost never carry the features that marketers usually are desperate to give their customers: bulletin boards, chat rooms, blogs and Web-page hosting.

The reason: Marketers fear that user-generated content will include complaints about injuries caused by their drugs' side effects. The law requires these "adverse events" to be reported to the FDA. The FDA's adverse-event databases are regularly combed by lawyers looking for potential class-action suits.

Thus, drug marketers have stuck with a decidedly Web 1.0 model, in which customer interaction is kept to an absolute minimum.

This head-in-the-sand approach may be about to change. A debate is raging in the drug business as to whether companies should   adopt a Web 2.0 strategy. On one side are digital agencies telling companies that online customers generate far fewer adverse event reports than drug companies might expect.

On the other side are brand managers, whose every published word must survive a thicket of in-house lawyers, some of whom aren't Internet savvy.

Dori Stowe, chief digital strategist at Grey Healthcare Group, New York, recalls speaking with a pharma company's legal team about a campaign, "and somebody raised their hand and asked, 'What's Google?'" Stowe, whose clients include Boehringer Ingelheim, said that once brand managers are shown the full extent of what patients are doing online, they're keen to learn more.

When told that companies should embrace such activity, adverse event reporting becomes their immediate worry. "The legal departments will say it's just not an area we can play in," said Jason Rogers, vp/account services at Catapult Marketing, Westport Conn. His clients include Novartis and Pfizer.

Bill Drummy, CEO at Heartbeat Digital, New York, agreed: "We've talked about this with our clients for literally five years and in every case that has been shot down by regulatory and legal folks." His clients have included Abbott Labs and GlaxoSmithKline.

In many cases, clients agree with their agencies but nix projects anyway. "Part of this is understanding the brand manager caught in the middle, with agencies saying you have to do it and the regulatory group not understanding it," said James Pietz, vp/group director at MicroMass, Cary, N.C. His clients include Merck and Shire.

The pressure for drug companies to evolve is growing. "Drug companies need to begin embracing ways to look for adverse events instead of hoping they don't stumble across them," said Peter Pitts, an svp at Manning, Selvage & Lee, New York, who keeps a blog that champions the industry. "I think the attitude of 'there's safety in ignorance,' or active ignorance, is no longer actionable or responsible."

Bruce Grant, svp/business strategy at Digitas Health, Philadelphia, which has worked for Wyeth and Pfizer, thinks there may be a legal advantage in giving consumers more input into drug marketing. "Early warning signals that there may be a safety issue really puts the company in a stronger position in terms of potential exposure to product liability suits," he said.

Grant cites a survey from Nielsen BuzzMetrics, New York, of 500 messages on health-related Google and Yahoo! sites. Only one reportable adverse event was found, suggesting a "volume that is entirely manageable within companies' broader [adverse events] monitoring programs." (BuzzMetrics and Brandweek are divisions of Nielsen Co.) That is disputed by some, who believe the volume will be much higher and therefore more onerous and expensive.

One company is attempting to prove it either way: Johnson & Johnson, which in March acquired, a community site for parents of kids with diabetes. The site has open bulletin boards and even takes ads from competing companies.

Joe Natale, vp-new media, said J&J monitors the site for adverse events and people who give incorrect medical advice, but aside from that anyone can post whatever they want. "The best way to destroy that community would be to in any way hamper or infringe upon the way they create content or share information. If [a company thinks] that every post for every user has to be reviewed and copy-cleared in advance, I will tell you not to waste your time."

Natale said the site gets 10,000 unique visitors a day, and the expense of monitoring for adverse events runs from $100,000 to $1 million, depending on the size of the site. So far he has encountered fewer adverse events than he expected. "There are enormous risks. I don't want to send the wrong message. It's extremely intimidating," he said. "Some companies will say, 'It will cost us money, cost us some investments.' But I think it will be worth it."

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FDA Warning to Diovan on Banner Ad ... will there be more?

FDA Issues Warning Letter to Novartis for Diovan Banner Ad
I am sure this is not the first time the FDA issues a warning letter to a pharmaceutical company regarding a banner ad for a prescription product (, but what I find particularly interesting in this letter is that the FDA explicitly states that despite the links to the PI and PPI in the banner they feel the banners "fail to communicate any risk information".  As far as I can recall, this is the first time I have seen the agency take a specific stance on the use of a link to the safety info VS actually including the extensive (and often difficult to comprehend) verbiage in the content of the banner (oftetimes we see companies address this in the way of adding additional frames to a banner or include the copy in a scrolling text box).  Upon careful review of the words in the FDA's letter, it appears they are insisting on the inclusion of risk information, warnings, precautions, and the most frequently reported adverse events INSIDE the actual banner -- at least in this particular case (which will probably set a precedent).  I think publishers might need to rethink their banners specs if they expect pharma to stay in compliance.  Fortunately, adding an additional :15 seconds in the online channel doesn't have the same cost implications as :15 seconds on TV.  On the other hand, it means less rotations which reduces impressions (aka "ad inventory").  So perhaps pharma banner ads cost will end up costing more in the long run.  We probably won't see the impact of this much in the next 6-12 months as the general state of the economy is affecting media spends across the board (the first time we have actually seen an overall decline in several years).  This would probably not be a good time to hike prices.

FDA Writes: "... The banners, however, entirely omit all risk information, including the warnings, precautions,and the most frequently reported adverse events from the PI. We note that a link to the PI and Patient Product Information (PPI) is included at the bottom of the banners. However, this does not mitigate the misleading omission of risk information from the banners. For promotional materials to be truthful and non-misleading, they must contain risk information in each part as necessary to qualify any effectiveness or safety claims made in that part. By omitting the most serious and frequently occurring risks associated with the drug, the banners misleadingly suggest that Diovan is safer than has been demonstrated."

This letter came in late August 2008.  More recently, we recently have seen a warning letter on Shire's Adderral video on YouTube. Is this going to be a growing pattern?  It will be interesting to see if the FDA begins to more actively monitor the Internet (beyond Web sites).  How will the agency review more complex platforms like social networks, widgets, and other Web 2.0/syndicated technologies?  Will someone at the FDA function in this dedicated role?

This is definately worth keeping an eye on.

Fabio Gratton
Chief Innovation Officer
Ignite Health

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DDMAC warns Bayer on YAZ TV ads

DDMAC warns Bayer on YAZ TV ads

by Matthew Arnold (Medical Marketing & Media, Oct 7 2008)

The FDA slapped Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals with a warning letter on two 60-second TV ads for its YAZ contraceptive.

The agency's Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising and Communications (DDMAC) said the spots, “Not Gonna Take It” and “Balloons,” “are misleading because they broaden the drug's indication, overstate the efficacy of YAZand minimize serious risks associated with the use of the drug.”

In particular, the agency said the ads exploit overlapping symptoms to “misleadingly suggest that YAZ is appropriate for treating women with PMS,” for which it is not indicated. YAZ is indicated for treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a more severe mood disorder related to the menstrual cycle, as well as birth control. Both ads show women kicking, punching or puncturing symptoms common to PMS and PMDD.

Moreover, the agency said distracting visuals, scene changes, background music and other “competing modalities” threaten to distract viewers from serious risk disclosures during the major statement.

DDMAC is currently evaluating the impact of distracting visuals on comprehension and retention of risk information in TV ads.

Bayer told MM&M the "Balloon" ads ran in 2007 and are not currently airing. The company will pull “Not Gonna Take It” and vowed to work with the agency on other promotions for the brand.

DDMAC has been on a tear of late, issuing five warning and untitled letters on promotions for ADHD drugs last month, along with an untitled letter on consumer-directed materials promoting Boehringer-Ingelheim's Mirapex's restless leg syndrome drug. In August, the agency issued a warning letter on a journal ad for Forest's Bystolic and an untitled letter on banner ads for Novartis' Diovan.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cephalon Webcast aims to educate about opioid abuse

Cephalon Webcast aims to educate about opioid abuse

Biopharma company Cephalon is launching a national educational program about the importance of appropriate and responsible use of prescription opioid medications. The initiative, When Good Medicines Become Bad Drugs, will include a series of free educational programs, including a Webcast moderated the former director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. According to the company, 71% of people who abuse prescription pain medicines received them from a friend or family member, not through a doctor's prescription. Earlier this month, Cephalon agreed to pay $425 million and enter a plea to resolve allegations of off-label marketing of the opioid Actiq and other drugs.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Physician Assistants Establish Online Presence

Physician Assistants Establish Online Presence

Oct 8, 2008
By: George Koroneos, Online Content & News Editor
PharmExec Direct Marketing Edition

As face-time with doctors is increasingly limited, the role of physician
and nurse practitioners has become integral in the healthcare system.
However, it hasn't exactly become easier for PAs and NPs to obtain
information about drugs and treatments. That's about to change.

Launched last week, Clinician 1 <> is a
Facebook-style social networking site targeted to the 200,000 physician
and nurse practitioners that prescribe drugs in all 50 states. It
features personal information pages, medical education, and areas to
facilitate two-way conversations between like-minded clinicians.

"We found that as we looked at ways to serve the informational and
social needs of both these professions, a social network/community was
needed," said Dave Mittman, physician assistant and co-founder of
Clinician 1.

Most importantly, Mittman and his partner Spencer Falk believed that the
site should not have physicians on it. To enroll in the site, potential
members must include their state license number and sign a digital
affidavit swearing to their identity as a PA or NA.

"Nurse practitioners and PAs have their own special needs regarding
things like running a clinic in rural areas, barriers to practice,
hospital privileges-many of the things that physicians take for granted
and wouldn't see any merit in reading," Mittman said. "PAs and NAs tend
to feel invisible within the healthcare system."

The site highlights different categories based on medical specialties
and interests. Everything from retail clinicians, parenting issues, and
military PAs are represented on the site. Also, much like you can pick
friends in Facebook or Myspace, you can choose colleagues on Clinician
1. The site also includes about 50 hours of free continuing medical
education, a repository of articles, and streaming news feeds.

Clinician 1 began development in January 2008 as a part time project
between Mittman and Falk, who have both, incidentally, continued their
careers as PAs. The site experienced some minor housekeeping hiccups
after launch, but no major problems.

"We didn't think we'd have 10,000 enrollees the first week, and we
thought that just opening it up and getting the glitches fixed even
after it was up and running would be fine. It hasn't been too
difficult," Mittman said.

Opportunity Knocks
Knowing that PAs and NAs are some of the top drug prescribers in the
industry, pharma would do well to pay close attention for future
opportunities. Clinician 1 does not currently have any pharma sponsors,
but Mittman and Falk are looking at the possibility of sponsorship.
Obviously, social networks have been a sticking point with pharma

"At this point, we are unsure as to what pharma wants to do and what the
FDA wants to do with social community sites that have people possible
speaking about unapproved indications and adverse reactions," Mittman
said. As of now, FDA has issued no regulations as to how pharma should
proceed in regards to either establishing or taking part in a social

Experts have said that it would be in pharma's best interest to partner
with a social networking site, rather than start their own. As of now
interest has been high, but implementation has been non-existent.

"We want to be able to educate our members about new products and new
indications, and things that happen in both the clinical device and
pharmaceutical fields," Mittman said. "Access to information about
pharmaceutical products is really decreasing. Hospitals are banning
detail people, large group practices are banning sales reps-even the
exhibit halls are going to be a different place without branded pens and

"Pharma and non-pharma are going to be faced with the task of getting
information-especially about products that can change the life of a
person with a chronic illness-across to the physicians, Mittman
continued. "We see a place for Clinician 1 and all the other social
networking sites, and we are waiting for guidance to see where that

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Shire Receives Warning For YouTube Video

Shire Receives Warning For YouTube Video

Oct 8, 2008
By: George Koroneos, Online Content & News Editor
PharmExec Direct Marketing Edition

Looks like FDA might be paying closer attention to YouTube.

Last week, Shire was part of a blitz of warning letters sent to ADHD
drug manufacturers, citing omission or lack of risk information. Johnson
& Johnson, Novartis, Mallinckrodt, and Lilly were also included-but
Shire's situation is different.

The letter to Shire <>
noted an overstatement of efficacy in a video testimonial provided by
celebrity spokesperson Ty Pennington for Adderall XR. The letter
literally highlights every instance of claims that cannot be
substantiated by clinical evidence.

"The video cites no references in support of these claims, and we are
not aware of substantial evidence to support them," the letter to Angus
Russell, CEO of Shire, states. "In fact, the effect of Adderall XR on
patients' total scores on the ADHD-RS-IV in clinical trials versus
placebo, while statistically significant, does not demonstrate an effect
that in any way supports the 'amazing transformation' claim, nor do the
symptoms measured in this rating scale include the outcomes claimed in
this testimonial."

FDA claims that Shire posted the video on YouTube, and must cease
distribution of the video immediately. Pharm Exec called Matt Cabrey,
Shire's director of communications, who confirmed that it was indeed
Shire (or an agency working with the company) that uploaded the short
flick to the popular video-sharing site on May 2007.

"What's important to note is that Shire received a letter of inquiry
from FDA on this same topic on May 10, 2007," Cabrey said. "At that
time, Shire removed the video and wrote a complete response to FDA on
June 1, 2007. We were not expecting a warning letter because we thought
the issue was resolved."

Cabrey said that the posting was made in error. The video was intended
to be included on a Shire Web site with risk information listed below
the testimonial.

In this particular case, Pennington was a paid spokesperson for the
brand, but the situation brings up the question of whether pharma
companies are responsible for consumers who repost pharma ads, spoof
ads, or their own testimonials about experiences with a drug.

"There is a reason why FDA has not issued explicit regulations regarding
the use of new media, and that's because the same rules should apply
regardless of the media," Ignite Health President Fabio Gratton said.
"The fact that FDA is looking at this channel as seriously as they're
looking at television is a validation for a lot of companies that don't
look at e-media as a fringe media."

The worry is that if FDA issues a warning letter about a social media
ad, some pharma companies could react negatively toward the channel as a
whole. "I can see myself walking into a regulatory meeting with a
YouTube strategy, and somebody says that they think the FDA frowns upon
it," Gratton told Pharm Exec on Tuesday. "We don't want to encourage a
fear factor around YouTube."

Shire said that the warning will not hinder its new media strategies,
and will continue looking at alternative areas to market its products.

"We now have an e-marketing initiative that four years ago didn't
exist," Cabrey said. "E-marketing is a big part of our approach to
reaching out to specific stakeholders or audiences, whether they are
consumers, physicians, parents of patients. There is going to be some
robust activity around how can we best reach patients through this
medium with appropriate messaging."

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

HealthiNation expands its online video network

HealthiNation expands its online video network

Digital health video network HealthiNation has expanded its online video network, it reports. It includes partnerships with LifeScript, UCompare Healthcare, Parade Magazine, Lee Enterprises, and Guideposts Magazine. The company says its online video network has more than tripled in monthly viewership so far this year and will expand with the additional partners. In related news, HealthiNation, announced $7.5 million in Series B funding led by Intel Capital. Previous investor MK Capital also invested in the round, says HealthiNation.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Campaign uses viral video for breast cancer awareness

Campaign uses viral video for breast cancer awareness

Ogilvy Group UK is launching a viral campaign for Cancer Research UK in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The "Breast Awareness Guy" campaign consists of a short viral film, which will be sent out via e-mail and seeded around the Internet. The film is also supported by e-mail and banner display advertising and directs women to the microsite, where they can learn about breast awareness, Cancer Research UK, and how to make a donation. The campaign uses a male model to attract women's attention. 

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Companies creating online adherence tool for prescription, other brands

Companies creating online adherence tool for prescription, other brands

OPTIMIZERx and interactive healthcare agency S&H Digital are parterning to create, market, and manage customized patient adherence programs for prescription and healthcare brands. The product, ADHERxE, provides a platform to build compliance programs that allow brands to engage, monitor, and support patients each month. The platform provides educational support and allows patients to activate monthly copay coupons in exchange for entering a branded Relationship Marketing program. Patients will complete a survey to determine their treatment status and reengaged through e-mails, reminders, and other programs based on their survey results.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

HealthiNation Announces $7.5 M in Series B Funding Led By Intel Capital

HealthiNation Announces $7.5 M in Series B Funding Led By Intel Capital

Secures New Partnerships with Leading Online Publishers


September 30, 2008, New York, NY — HealthiNation, a leading digital health video network, announced $7.5 million in Series B funding led by Intel Capital. Previous investor MK Capital also invested in the round.  In addition, HealthiNation announced an expansion in its online video network, including partnerships with LifeScript, UCompare Healthcare, PARADE Magazine, and Guideposts Magazine.

“We view this as a pivotal moment for our company,” said Raj Amin, president and CEO of HealthiNation. “With the resources of Intel Capital behind us and the continued expansion of our online video network with world class properties, we will continue to lead the way in bringing more people our premium quality programs to help them stay healthy.”

HealthiNation’s premium quality video programs are created for consumer audiences, delivering unbiased, medically-reviewed content delivered in short entertaining episodes.  HealthiNation’s experts are featured in each episode, covering a wide variety of diseases and conditions like diabetes and heart disease, along with everyday health topics like nutrition, first aid, and family health.  The new funding will support the company’s growth in programming, ad sales and operations for its core media network along with new offerings for health literacy environments such as employer health programs, hospitals, and health clinics. 

“As more consumers seek relevant health information online, engaging content - such as video - will be the key to effective communication,” said Alex Marquez, director, Digital Home, Intel Capital. "HealthiNation has the potential to play a pivotal role in the field of health information and wellness.”

HealthiNation’s online video network has more than tripled in monthly viewership so far this year, and will expand with additional world class partners including:

  •, a leading website dedicated to women’s health
  •, a part of, provides consumers with access to quality ratings and related information on hospitals, mammography centers, fertility clinics and doctors
  • Parade Magazine, is the online home of PARADE, the most widely read magazine in America.’s HealthyStyle channel offers a variety of health and nutrition information, which will be complemented by the HealthiNation videos.
  • Lee Enterprises, a leading newspaper publisher with 53 daily newspapers with rapidly growing online presence and presence in 23 states
  • Guideposts Magazine, the online destination of the leading publication that features stories and features on  faith, spirituality and personal development 

“Our research shows that readers of PARADE and are hungry for health-related information,” says Allison Werder, SVP/Business Development.  ”The addition of HealthiNation’s video programs will give our visitors a richer experience that complements original daily content, tools and search features available on PARADEs HealthyStyle channel.”


These new properties join HealthiNation’s existing online partners including world class properties such as Yahoo! Health, US News and World Report, and who have chosen HealthiNation as their partner for premium quality health video.  HealthiNation is also available on television through video-on-demand in more than 20 MM homes across the US through leading companies including Comcast Cable, Verizon, Cox Communications, and Charter Communications.  


HealthiNation is a leading health video company, whose goal is to educate and inspire people to make healthier choices.  HealthiNation produces original health-themed video programs that cover disease and condition education, along with patient stories, health tips, original series, and healthy lifestyle programs.  The company launched its multi-platform consumer health network in June 2006.  Programs can be seen on and through partnerships with leading cable companies and internet media properties including Yahoo! Health, Comcast Cable, Cox Communications, Verizon, and US News and World Report.  HealthiNation is headquartered in New York City, and its investors include Intel Capital and MK Capital.   For more information on HealthiNation, please visit

About Intel Capital

Intel Capital, Intel's global investment organization, makes equity investments in innovative technology start-ups and companies worldwide. Intel Capital invests in a broad range of companies offering hardware, software, and services targeting enterprise, home, mobility, health, consumer Internet, semiconductor manufacturing, and cleantech. Since 1991, Intel Capital has invested more than US$7.5 billion in approximately 1,000 companies in 45 countries. In that timeframe, 168 portfolio companies have gone public on various exchanges around the world and 212 were acquired or participated in a merger. In 2007, Intel Capital invested about US$639 million in 166 deals with approximately 37 percent of funds invested outside the United States. For more information on Intel Capital and its differentiated advantages, visit

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New Web site provides videos, education about cancer

New Web site provides videos, education about cancer

Supportive Oncology Services (SOS) has launched, a multimedia Web site with information for cancer patients and their caregivers. SOS helps cancer clinics define and improve the quality of cancer care provided. is a video resource containing information about cancer diagnosis, treatment, and possible side effects. SOS says the videos have been developed, reviewed, and approved via a national editorial board of community-based oncology professionals throughout the United States. Previously, the information was only available in approximately 90 top-tier oncology practices. has been accredited by the Health On the Net Foundation.

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Online video watching doubles in year

Online video watching doubles in year

The number of consumers watching online video has doubled in the past year, according to a new ABI Research survey of online households in the United States. The number has gone from 32% one year ago to 63%. The growth is likely due to an increase in rich content available in ad-supported format, as well as increasing demand from consumers, ABI said. Nearly half of respondents under age 25, and 53% of those aged 25–29, said they watch long-form content, such as TV shows or movies, online once per month or more. Yet three-quarters of online video watchers over age 65 say they have never watched TV shows or movies online.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Claymation Demos 'Help People Understand Complicated Things'

Claymation Demos 'Help People Understand Complicated Things'


Would you rather listen to a talking head explain how to use their
"innovative Web 2.0 service" - or watch Gumby do a song-and-dance about

Assuming most people would choose the latter, Invoke Labs launched
Claytorial (, a website that, under the premise
of helping "people understand complicated things!", creates appealing
claymation videos for clients' products, ideas or services.

Claytorial artists start by drawing a visual map of the company's idea.
Then they bring them to life as moving images in a video sketch:

So far, the company has only one major client:, a company that
- as MarketingVOX discovered after watching the "claytorial" - enables
instant creation of SMS and mobile sites for promotion, sales, and
personal communication:

A brief glance at's website, which sports the logo "Handy
information. To go!", does not quite clarify what the company does, who
can/should use its services, and what the added value is.

After watching the claymation demo, however, it becomes clear that tagga
covers the trifecta:

1. Consumers who want to send web content (e.g., news feeds,
data) to their mobile

2. Marketers who want to easily create mobile sites and SMS

3. Publishers who can get more revenue by adding tools like
"send to mobile" on their website.

In short, viewers are left with a basic, resonating understanding of a
brand, product or service. As an added bonus, they may also be left with
a warm, fuzzy - and childlike - reaction to the claymation tutorial.

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Epocrates: One million MobileCME courses have been completed

Epocrates: One million MobileCME courses have been completed

One million Epocrates MobileCME courses have been completed, the company
announced. This milestone establishes mobile learning as a standard in
the CME industry, Epocrates reports, adding that since April 2005,
healthcare professionals "have turned idle time into productive learning
sessions." A third-party study by Outcomes, Inc., showed that physicians
who completed the MobileCME courses were more likely to apply
recommended treatment for a specific disease than other mobile users.
Epocrates says mobile-based CME is projected to grow by 40% between 2006
and 2011, citing Ambient Insights 2007.

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Online games offer brain workout to boomers, sponsorship opps to marketers

Online games offer brain workout to boomers, sponsorship opps to

Online social network BOOMj has teamed with HAPPYneuron online brain
games to provide online brain fitness games that aim to help people stay
mentally fit. There's also opportunity for sponsors to place their
messages around the HAPPYneuron games. BOOMj members will have free
access to HAPPYneuron's brain fitness games on the BOOMj Web site.
HAPPYneuron offers games that target the five major cognitive brain
functions of memory, attention, language, executive functions, and
visual/spatial skills. Members will receive reward points toward
purchases in the BOOMj store for playing the brain games. BOOMj targets
baby boomers and adults over age 35.

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AOL Launches New Lifestyle and Pop Culture Sites; AOL Programming Hits Record Traffic Numbers in August

AOL Launches New Lifestyle and Pop Culture Sites; AOL Programming Hits
Record Traffic Numbers in August

Business Wire via NewsEdge :

Online Writers/Business Editors

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--September 25, 2008--AOL announced the launch
of two new specialty sites, Lemondrop,, which
covers women's lifestyle, and PopEater,, which
focuses on pop culture. The new sites continue AOL's efforts to launch
experiences targeted at specific audiences. Both sites provide consumers
a forum to interact and engage in a fun and entertaining format about
lifestyle and pop culture features. In addition, AOL announced that
unique visitors and page views for its programming sites grew in August,
the nineteenth consecutive month of growth. Unique visitors climbed 5%
year-over-year in August, page views climbed more than 100%, and time
spent climbed 49%, according to the August 2008 comScore Media Metrix

The new sites are supported by AOL's digital advertising business,
Platform-A,, which will identify key
opportunities for advertisers and provide relevant display advertising
and content-targeted links on the sites.

"As people change the way they use the Internet, we are continually
looking to offer more relevant content that targets people's passion
points," said Bill Wilson, Executive Vice President, AOL Programming.
"The new sites provide comprehensive engaging and interactive
experiences and offer a place for consumers and advertisers to connect
with programming that is truly dynamic. In addition, our continued
growth in traffic and engagement show that this approach is resonating
with online consumers."

Lemondrop is a women's lifestyle site for the 18-34 year old woman that
takes an informed, irreverent look at a range of lifestyle topics: news,
relationships, fashion, pop culture, politics, shopping, humor and water
cooler discussions of the day. The site informs, entertains and creates
a community around weird news, snacks, dating tips, cool products and
more. In addition to exclusive content, Lemondrop curates the best of
the Web in the rapid-fire, conversational style of today's twenty- and
thirty-something women and invites readers to join in the conversation
with their own perspectives. The site builds on the success of AOL's
men's site, Asylum,, which launched in December 2007
and has already grown to be the No. 1 men's lifestyle site in the U.S.
with more than 4.1 million unique visitors in August.*

PopEater is focused on pop culture and is AOL's central location for
entertainment news, where the day's hottest entertainment stories,
gossip items, celebrity photos and Hollywood trends are brought to life
in an interactive experience. Previously, solely focused on
pop music, but AOL has expanded the site to include all of AOL News',, entertainment coverage. With polls, videos, photos,
compelling galleries and many other features and franchises, PopEater
takes a snapshot of how the big story is evolving across the Web while
offering pop culture enthusiasts a chance to react along with it.

Since last year, AOL has launched over 20 specialty sites, including,,,,,, and

Many of AOL's programming sites are in the top three of their categories
for unique visitors, according to August 2008 comScore Media Metrix.
Asylum,, Black Voices,, Music,, and StyleList,, are all No.
1. Horoscopes,, Latino,,
Money & Finance,, Moviefone,,
and Television,, are in the top two. Living,, and TMZ,, are in the top three.**
In terms of page views, Money & Finance, Health,,
Asylum and StyleList are number one in their categories, while Living,
Moviefone, Music, Black Voices and TMZ are number two, and Television
and AOL Latino are number three.

* comScore Media Metrix, August 2008.

** comScore categories Black Voices, Horoscopes, Latino, StyleList and
Asylum are custom built based on a self selected competitor list.

About AOL

AOL is a global Web services company that operates some of the most
popular Web destinations, offers a comprehensive suite of free software
and services, runs one of the largest Internet access businesses in the
U.S. and provides a full set of advertising solutions. A majority-owned
subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., AOL LLC and its subsidiaries have
operations in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Asia. Learn more at

AOL Corporate Communications

Alysia Lew, 212-652-6376

State Keywords: New York

Industry Keywords: Women; Entertainment; Technology; Internet; Networks;
Communications; Advertising; Marketing; Online; Consumer

Source: AOL

<<Business Wire -- 09/26/08>>

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97% of Adult Cancer Patients Do Not Take Advantage of Clinical Trial Programs

The Looming Crisis in Cancer Drug Development:

97% of Adult Cancer Patients Do Not Take Advantage of Clinical Trial

American Association for Cancer Research Aims to Raise Awareness about
the Importance of Clinical Trial Participation

September 24, 2008 * Philadelphia, PA /PRNewswire/


News facts:

* Most Americans with cancer would be receptive to participating
in clinical trials if they knew about them.

o In a survey of 6,000 cancer patients, 85 percent were either
unaware or unsure that participation in a clinical trial was an option.
Seventy-five percent said they would have been willing to enroll had
they known it was possiblei.

o This lack of knowledge is leading to a crisis in cancer drug
development with 80 percent of clinical trials in the U.S. being delayed
because of unfulfilled enrollmentii.

* While clinical trials remain the only way to effectively test
potential new medications, fewer than 5 percent of adult cancer patients
participate in themiii. This lack of participation leads to delays in
clinical trials and slows patient access to new and possibly lifesaving
treatment options.

* The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the proud
scientific partner of Stand Up to Cancer, a ground-breaking initiative
aimed at raising funds to accelerate cancer research and bringing new
therapies to patients more quickly, is committed to spreading knowledge
about cancer research and is on the front lines of the quest for
prevention and cure. AACR is taking a lead in raising awareness about
the urgent need to increase cancer clinical trial participation.

* Clinical trials are not for everyone, but if you have been
diagnosed with any type of cancer, talk to your doctor about whether a
clinical trial may be right for you.

* For information about AACR's progress toward the prevention
and cure of cancer, please visit

Commentary on clinical trials:

"The American Association for Cancer Research aims to educate the public
about what a clinical trial can offer and ensure people know all of
their treatment options, including clinical trials, at the time of their
diagnosis. Through this process patients can make an educated decision
when choosing their course of therapy with their doctor." - Raymond N.
DuBois, M.D., Ph.D. President, AACR and Provost and Executive Vice
President of Academic Affairs, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

"The challenge is to make patients and healthcare providers more aware
of clinical trials. While more funds for research are needed, progress
also requires more participation in clinical trials." - Gwen Darien,
Director of Survivor and Patient Advocacy, AACR

"Cancer patients need to ask their doctors about clinical trials. It's
important to be proactive and find out about treatment options and
decide which is right for you." - Connie Mielich, cancer survivor and
clinical trial participant

"The care I received while participating in a clinical trial was the
best I've ever had. The healthcare providers were very attentive to my
needs. Some patients may have reservations about enrolling but I advise
people to ask their doctor about clinical trials and discuss it with
their loved ones." - Connie Mielich, cancer survivor and clinical trial

About the AACR

Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional
organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and the prevention
and cure of cancer. The membership includes more than 28,000 basic,
translational, and clinical researchers, healthcare professionals'
cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and 80 other
countries. AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer
community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and
treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational

i Harris Interactive survey - data on file
ii CISCRP's 101 Facts About Clinical Research: Treatment & Cures of
Disease." The Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research
Participation. July 2007.
(16 Jan. 2008).
iii Lara P, et al. "Prospective Evaluation of Cancer Clinical Trial
Accrual Patterns: Identifying Potential Barriers to Enrollment." The
Journal of Clinical Oncology 19(2001):1728-1733.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Joslin Diabetes Center launches diabetes Web network for physicians

Joslin Diabetes Center launches diabetes Web network for physicians

Joslin Diabetes Center has launched the Joslin Professional Education Consortium (JPEC), a Web-based diabetes resource and community for primary care physicians. JPEC offers free social networking among peers and colleagues, as well as access to support and education to improve patient care for diabetes. It is designed to supplement CME activities. JPEC provides members with point-of-care access to support and patient education materials and opportunities to participate in interactive dialog with experts and colleagues about diabetes and its complications. The site also features performance improvement tools for self-assessment, which allows physicians to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credits.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Longitude Health Unveils

Longitude Health Unveils

Marketwire via NewsEdge :

SOMERSET, NJ, September 11 / MARKET WIRE/ --

Longitude Health, Inc. (, provider of web-based, guided health and wellness solutions for mid-size, self-insured companies, today announced that it will introduce for the first time -- an innovative health and wellness site providing free and insightful physician-guided input and peer-to-peer support on health, wellness and a variety of common chronic conditions including asthma, cholesterol, diabetes, and weight management. The Webinar will be held on September 18th at 2:30 pm (ET) and accessed via clicking here or copying and pasting the following URL into a browser:

Join your peers in a live Webinar, as co-founders Dr. Jan Swaney and Tracy Korman introduce CMO Dr. Swaney will briefly present's social networking functions and CEO Tracy Korman will share the long-term vision for as a resource for consumers, employers and physicians.

There is one kind of support that you can get from your doctor or your HealthGuide, but there is an altogether different type of support you get from people who share similar challenges.

At you can join one of the "hosted" discussions:

--  Community @ with Jan Swaney, M.D. covering general     health and wellness subjects --  Healthy Eating & Exercising @ hosted by Le Greta     Hudson, M.S., R.D., C.D.E. and other nationally known nutrition and     exercise experts --  Living with Chronic Conditions @ hosted by     registered nurse and certified diabetes educator Cindy Sears covering     coping with common chronic conditions     

Or you can create your own discussion. The site is FREE to join and FREE to use.

The Webinar will also detail how to use to find support, share challenges, get practical advice and celebrate health successes with easy-to-use tools for posting comments, starting your own blog, viewing informative videos, or sending secure messages to your peers.

Please join the health and wellness conversation, register now.

Can't make the live Webinar? We invite you to directly log on to -- find support, share your challenges, get practical advice and celebrate your successes.

About Longitude Health, Inc. & is owned and operated by Longitude Health, Inc. (, a privately held, company offering comprehensive web-based, guided health and productivity improvement solutions for consumers, employers and physicians. Its flexible tools and holistic approaches provide incentives, integrate with primary care physician oversight and enable social networking support for a completely collaborative solution leading to sustainable, long-term, healthy life style habits. Longitude Health's portal and HealthGuides provide a highly valued benefit while at the same time improving productivity, reducing health related costs and improving health related quality of life.

Based in New Jersey and with operations in Missouri, Longitude Health ( is a privately held, investor-backed company offering comprehensive web-based, guided health and productivity improvement solutions for mid-size, self-insured businesses. Its flexible tools and holistic approaches provide incentives, integrate with primary care physician oversight and enable social networking support for a completely collaborative solution leading to sustainable, long-term, healthy life style habits. For further information on Longitude Health visit

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Comcast launched Web and video on demand programming for breast cancer

Comcast launched Web and video on demand programming for breast cancer

Comcast has launched the "Pink Ribbon" campaign, a multiplatform video-on-demand and online initiative that provides programs about breast cancer that can be watched at home. The campaign offers more than 20 hours of content from Lifetime Networks, Discovery Health, and other partners. In addition, a partnership with Comcast and is part of Lifetime Network's 14th annual Stop Breast Cancer for Life campaign in October. Beginning this week and continuing through October, Comcast customers with On Demand service will have free access to related programs, including episodes of Sex and the City and other shows and movies.

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The HealthCentral Network has the Third Largest Online Health Audience

The HealthCentral Network has the Third Largest Online Health Audience

PR Newswire via NewsEdge :

ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The HealthCentral Network ( is the third most visited online health property behind WebMD and Everyday Health. The HealthCentral Network had 10.7 million unique visitors in July according to comScore. With the recently announced acquisition of, the company now reports a total of 11.3 million monthly unique visitors for July.

Through its unique approach of building highly-targeted, condition- specific and wellness web sites, The HealthCentral Network attracts not only a large audience, but a highly engaged one.

"Through acquisitions and strong organic growth, The HealthCentral Network has become one of the most visited online health sites," said Christopher M. Schroeder, CEO of The HealthCentral Network. "While having a large audience is important, The HealthCentral Network's unique ability to attract the highest quality, most engaged health consumers is even more valuable for advertisers."

According to comScore, the five most visited sites in the online health category, and their monthly unique visitors, are:

     1. WebMD                      17.27      2. Everyday Health            14.70      3. The HealthCentral Network  11.36*      4. Revolution Health          11.33      5. AOL Health                 11.10  

* Includes July 2008 comScore data and internally-reported figures for the recently-acquired Numbers can be found at comScore under "The HealthCentral Network Properties," or at under "Media Relations."

In January, The HealthCentral Network received a significant minority investment from IAC/Interactive Corp, and IAC Chairman Barry Diller sits on The HealthCentral Network's Board of Directors. The company recently announced two significant acquisitions: - the #1 HIV/AIDS interactive resource; and, MedTrackAlert - a leading provider of customized health and wellness news and information. The company also recently joined with IAC to create an online pharmaceutical marketing network that reaches over 50 million consumers.

About The HealthCentral Network

The HealthCentral Network, Inc. ( is one of the top health destinations on the Web, with more than 35 condition-specific, wellness and general health Web properties. By offering connections to renowned experts, a network of patients and caregivers who share "real world" experience, and in-depth information, sites in The HealthCentral Network make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients and caregivers. The HealthCentral Network also manages the highest-quality health advertising network, not building size for size's sake - but targeting condition-specific audiences who value and engage with information from marketers on their terms.

SOURCE HealthCentral Network

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Online Video is an Emerging Channel for Physicians to Connect with Pharmaceutical Companies

Online Video is an Emerging Channel for Physicians to Connect with Pharmaceutical Companies

PR Newswire via NewsEdge :

NEW YORK, Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Physician interest in live video detail from sales reps is growing, according to the ePharma Physician(R) v8.0 physician market study by pharmaceutical and healthcare market research company Manhattan Research. Currently, about 45,000 U.S. physicians meet via online video with their sales reps, and over 300,000 more show interest in interacting with sales or other company representatives online.

Physicians already engaged in video detailing with sales reps are, for the most part, highly satisfied with their experience, according to the study. This sentiment may explain why these physicians are consistent users - physicians already participating in live video detailing sessions do so with an average of seven reps per month. Some pharmaceutical companies are already including this communication strategy in their plans - Aptilon recently added two additional top 10 global pharma companies as clients of their AxcelRx Live video detailing service.

"Incorporating live video details in the physician-sales rep relationship can be a win-win for both groups," said Meredith Abreu Ressi, Vice President of Research at Manhattan Research. "Depending on the company, it can be a cost-effective strategy for sales forces looking to reach physicians spread out over a wide territory, and physicians enjoy the flexibility and interactive features the sessions offer. Pharma companies should pay close attention to rep call centers that give healthcare professionals access to company representatives via telephone or web chat at any time, as many physicians express interest in this type of service."

Free Professional Marketing White Paper

Our professional marketing white paper, "Plugging into Physicians: Digital Marketing & Sales Strategies for Healthcare Companies," contains market data and trends for pharmaceutical, device, biotech, and healthcare companies looking to leverage technology to improve physician relationships in 2009. Download here: physicians.aspx

About ePharma Physician(R) v8.0

ePharma Physician(R) v8.0 was conducted via online survey methodology in Q2 2008 among 1,681 online practicing U.S. physicians. The study and advisory service has determined the leading online physician destinations based on the number of physician visitors as well as the content satisfaction of those who visit and provides in-depth analysis of top product and corporate pharmaceutical websites, health portals, online journal sites, specialty- specific sites, newsletters, society sites, physicians and Web 2.0, physician online communities, electronic detailing, Tablet PCs, online conferences, physician customer service portals, tech-enabled sales forces, physician CRM, and more. For more information:

About Manhattan Research

Manhattan Research conducts annual research studies among physicians and consumers, including Taking the Pulse(R), Taking the Pulse(R) Europe, Taking the Pulse(R) Asia, ePharma Physician(R), Cybercitizen(R) Health, Cybercitizen(R) Health Europe, and ePharma Consumer(R). Broad consumer and physician research is complemented by targeted analysis among more than 80 consumer therapeutic segments and 25 physician specialist segments.

Manhattan Research, a Decision Resources, Inc. company, is a leading market research and advisory firm for pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. For more information, visit, email or call 1.888.680.0800.

About Decision Resources, Inc.

Decision Resources, Inc. is a cohesive portfolio of companies that offers best-in-class, high-value information and insights on important sectors of the healthcare industry. Clients rely on this analysis and data to make informed decisions. Please visit Decision Resources, Inc. at

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