Social networkers want pharmas in the conversation: poll

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Social media “power users” who value interaction with healthcare companies want them regulated but around, according to a WEGO Health survey.
Of 200-plus WEGO “health activists” who responded to a poll by the firm, 63% said social media dialogue between healthcare companies and online communities is valuable, and 60% said companies should get involved in monitoring and correcting any misconceptions about their products online. Sixty-three percent agreed with the statement “open internet and social media conversation between healthcare companies and people online is valuable and regulations should not prevent those open conversations.”
Not that WEGO's respondents—heavy users who are opinion leaders in health-focused online communities—are anti-regulation. Majorities favored regulation when companies pay bloggers to create content (66%), sponsor social networking sites for a particular health condition (55%), create social networking sites for a particular health condition (59%), leave comments on third-party sites (60%) and establish company accounts on social networking sites like Facebook (54%). But those numbers are down a bit from 2009, when WEGO ran a similar survey.
“Regulations are not as much in demand by the community as they were a year or two ago,” said WEGO Health CEO Jack Barrette. “[The internet] is now the dominant way people communicate about health and healthcare consumers would rather not see companies regulated out of the conversation.”
And many companies seem to be going ahead with social media outreach despite the lack of FDA guidance, with respondents reporting seeing more company activity on Facebook and sites like Twitter.
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