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

Published on 16/12/09 at 11:59am
John Pugh
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma's John Pugh

Favourite use of digital (pharma)

• Microsoft's future of healthcare video. It's their vision of the possibilities that I fell in love with.

• Novartis and Proteus Biomedical's compliance chip.

Bayer Didget

Favourite use of digital (non-pharma)

Carrotmob - a method of activism that uses consumer power to make the most socially-responsible business practices also the most profitable choices.

Spotify - internet music streaming - or the Bandstalker iPhone application.

Favourite social media initiative (pharma)

• UCB linking up with patients social networking site Patientslikeme. Their collaboration to create an online epilepsy community hasn't been launched yet, but the idea sounds fantastic.

Favourite social media initiative (non-pharma)

• Flashmobs - part social experiment, part work of art. You can find some great ones on

Yammer - the adoption at Boehringer has been massive, far more than official channels, showing you need fun and less control for effective communications.

Most significant online event for pharma in 2009

• [Boehringer Ingelheim's] RELY clinical trial results being announced live on Twitter.

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

This is the year that pharma started trying to use digital more creatively. Conversations moved on from 'Should we?' to 'How should we?'

We realised it's not about creating boring brand websites, it's about creating meaningful interactions.

We're starting to overcome hurdles, and hopefully the FDA hearing will help.

But ultimately 2009 was about Twitter.

John Pugh is globally responsible for social media at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma. He is the face behind Boehringer's Twitter account (@boehringer) and has recently driven the expansion of the company's YouTube use.

Over the last week some of European pharma's foremost digital exponents have kindly agreed to share their online highlights from the year and I would like to thank John Pugh, Bayer Schering Pharma's Len Starnes, Roche's Sabine Kostevc and GlaxoSmithKline's Kai Gait for their involvement - Dominic Tyer.

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