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Digital Pharma: A Year in Digital (4/5)

Published on 15/12/09 at 10:25am
Len Starnes
Bayer Schering Pharma's Len Starnes

Favourite use of digital (pharma)

Physicians' social networks. This is pharma's new engagement channel offering the industry an opportunity to normalise its relationship with physicians and connect with emerging real-world medical wisdom.

Favourite use of digital (non-pharma)

No surprises here, but it has to be Twitter. Once the extremely steep learning curve has been mastered the true value of the channel becomes all too evident. I'm addicted.

Favourite social media initiative (pharma)

Unquestionably Boehringer Ingelheim's corporate Twitter channel used to cover its annual general meeting and the European Society of Cardiology's 2009 Congress in Barcelona. Demonstrable vision combined with pragmatism and speed; an extremely rare combination of traits within the pharma industry. Boehringer's John Pugh is now my official 2009 pharma industry social media hero.

Favourite social media initiative (non-pharma)

Happy Farm in China running on Tencent's QZone platform is fuelling a new agrarian revolution - online. It's staggering to think that over 25 million Chinese are logging on to 'grow' and 'steal' virtual crops. This is more of a cultural phenomenon than a social media initiative. There must be lessons for pharma here somewhere.

Most significant online event for pharma in 2009

The 12-13 November public hearing on the 'Promotion of FDA-regulated medical products using the internet and social media tools'. The decisions resulting from this hearing could well have global implications for the pharma industry.

How would you summarise pharma's use of 'digital' in 2009?

Cautiously explorative. May it continue to be so.

Len Starnes is head of digital marketing and sales (general medicine) at Bayer Schering Pharma.

He has over 14 years experience in pharma e-business, and is currently head of digital marketing and sales for the General Medicine business unit of Bayer Schering Pharma. He directs strategy and operations across the Asia Pacific, Latin American, European and North American regions.

His current areas of focus include Health and Medicine 2.0, the cross-disciplinary impact of social media, and emerging customer engagement channels

Over the last week some of European pharma's foremost digital exponents have kindly agreed to share their online highlights from the year. The series concludes tomorrow with John Pugh, who is globally responsible for social media at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma.

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