Friday, November 03, 2006

HealthMedia acquires

HealthMedia acquires
11-01-06 / Medical Marketing & Media

Behavioral change-focused relationship marketing firm HealthMedia announced today that it has acquired the consumer Web site  Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. will retain its office and staff based in Northborough, MA.   With the acquisition, HealthMedia adds’s programs for depression, insomnia, and other behavioral health conditions to its client offerings.  Ann Arbor, MI-based HealthMedia’s clients include Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Takeda, Kaiser Permanente, Cleveland Clinic and others.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006


Subject: FDAnews Marketing Bulletin

         Vol. 1, No. 2
        Thursday, Nov. 2, 2006 

The growing use of internet advertising benefits smaller pharmaceutical companies that lack the resources to compete using more traditional methods to market their products, industry observers say.

Some industry analysts are reporting an increase in online DTC advertising. For example, eMarketer is reporting a 25 percent increase in internet spending this year for a total of $780 million.

Smaller companies need more cost-efficient ways of increasing their market share and the internet provides that, Rob Nauman of BioPharma Advisors Network said. The internet provides a way to "redefine their sales and marketing," leveling the playing field with larger firms. Not only is it cheaper to market products using the internet than on television or in print, but also it is easier to target likely customers based on the sites they have visited, he added.

But there are mitigating factors, which may limit the effectiveness of the internet, John Mack, publisher of Pharma Marketing News, said. He cites data recently released by TNS Media Intelligence showing that while total DTC spending is up by 6.6 percent compared with last year, online spending has dropped by almost 3 percent. However, TNS does not take into account the money drug companies spend on paid searches, while eMarketer does.

Companies need to see a return on their investment to continue using the internet, but there is no good data to measure that. Plus, the industry has the perception that the internet does not provide the kind of reach that mass media does, further limiting companies' willingness to use
that medium.
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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

New site from Novartis: "How I Do Diabetes"

But you can't do anything unless you complete the "4 minute" survey...
This site should have been called "How I Do Frustration".
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Pharmaceutical Marketing Online: Direct-to-Patient Becomes a Reality (eMarketer)

Pharmaceutical Marketing Online: Direct-to-Patient Becomes a Reality (eMarketer) 

According to a report by eMarketer, the Internet is the first place millions of Americans turn to for healthcare information. As a result, the advertising and marketing of pharmaceuticals is changing direction, as well as channels, from "direct-to-consumer" to "direct-to-patient," from mass marketing to relationship marketing.

The Pharmaceuticals Online report analyzes the quickly evolving world of pharma marketing, which-driven by changes in consumer behavior and attitudes towards healthcare-is rapidly changing direction and tactics.

As marketers shift from consumer mass marketing to more targeted opportunities on the Internet, eMarketer projects Internet spending by pharmaceutical companies will increase nearly 25% this year, to $780 million.

Please click here for more information.

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Doctor Internet Use Evolves

Doctor Internet Use Evolves (PharmaLive)

According to the article, a study of 1,260 practicing physicians in the United States by Manhattan Research in 2006 found that 97% of physicians have been online for professional purposes in the past 12 months. About 99% have been online for any reason, whether personal or professional.

Perhaps one of the biggest differences brought about by the Internet is that physicians can filter or choose when, where, and how they are exposed to key sources of information. Although many marketers and promotional experts could rely on a short list of preferred channels for physicians as far back as ten years ago, the physicians of 2006 are practicing in a world in which they are increasingly shifting to the online channel for journals, drug information, medical references, pharmaceutical company updates, and news.

Accessing medical news now ranks as one of the key online activities among U.S. physicians. Physicians no longer sit back and rely on their peers, print journals, and annual meetings to learn of the latest advances in medicine. Physicians are actively using news sites and feeds, such as keyword alerts or RSS feeds, to have the information they want delivered to them from sources they trust. In the same way that consumers have migrated to news retrieval online, physicians are following suit for clinical information, research, and news.

Please click here for the full article.

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Recently approved for Glaucoma

What a beautiful website...
... not!
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Consumers' Search For Health Info Grows

Consumers' Search For Health Info Grows
by Tom Eng, Tuesday, Oct 31, 2006 6:00 AM ET
DEMAND FOR HIGH QUALITY AND personalized health information among consumers is exploding as a result of several national trends. Consumers are increasingly assuming decision-making responsibility for almost all aspects of health care, as employers--facing dramatic health insurance premium increases--are increasingly pushing employees to enroll in high deductible health plans. These plans give consumers substantial authority over what, when, and where health-care services are utilized. Another major trend is the aging of society. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, estimates show that the percentage of people 65 years of age and older will increase from about 12.4% in 2006 to 20% of the U.S. population by 2030 (. As a result, a substantial proportion of Americans will be living longer and have more chronic health conditions.

And as biomedical discoveries continue to generate new information and invalidate current information, consumers need to be able to filter this voluminous information into their individual context and preferences.

During the early years of the Web, consumers typically went to destination health Web sites and browsed for health information. With the rise of major general search engines such as Google, consumers have defaulted to search engines as their preferred method for finding health information.

According to Pew Internet, about 81% of consumers looking for online health information use a search engine. In addition, in a recent report by Jupiter Research,18% of online consumers said they relied significantly more on search engines to find health information than they did one year ago, and 46% of online consumers searched for health information at least monthly. However, the same report showed that only 16 % of online consumers searching for health information found what they were looking for.

Several limitations of general search engines are evident. Most search engines do not perform satisfactorily for health queries because of their lack of focus on quality of results, their inability to provide individually relevant results, and their inability to "understand" queries in a health context. Quality of results is a frequent problem for searches on health topics such as alternative medicine, nutrition and supplements, prescription drugs, and disease cures.

The ability to ensure high quality and personalized search results is perhaps more important in the health domain than in any other industry, because the consequences of using unreliable and irrelevant health information can be very severe. Thus, there is a need for search engines that address the unique complexities of health information search and that can provide reliable and personalized search results.

Several health-optimized search engines have recently launched to address the limitations of general search engines. These new vertical search engines typically use algorithms, semantic analysis, and other technologies to guide users through the search process and to provide highly focused and personally relevant results.

Without a doubt, consumer demand for health information will continue to grow dramatically as society grapples with the challenging issues of aging, increasing healthcare costs, and decreasing support for healthcare consumers. Providing people with novel health search tools will empower consumers to make the best health decisions and live healthier lives.

Tom Eng is chairman and founder of Healia. He will be speaking at the Search Insider Summit, to be held Nov. 12-15.

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Internet Broadcasting Taps Quigo for PPC Ads

Internet Broadcasting Taps Quigo for PPC Ads
Tuesday, Oct 31, 2006 6:00 AM ET
INTERNET BROADCASTING, A PUBLISHER OF TV station Web sites, will use a private-label version of Quigo's AdSonar platform to monetize its sites with auction-based pay-per-click advertisements, the company announced Monday. Internet Broadcasting publishes 79 sites for American TV networks, including NBC, Cox Broadcasting and Scripps Howard.
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Merck launches guide to help patients find health info online

Merck launches guide to help patients find health info online

A new Merck guide aims to help people find and evaluate reliable online sources of health information and is the latest in a series of similar tools for consumers. The free guide is available online at Merck's site and teaches consumers how to evaluate online health information with tips such as confirming that the information is current and looking for information that's written by physicians. The guide also lists credible Web sites. Included on the list are, Merck's own, and www.HealthSiteGuide, on which MerckSource is listed. WebMD, ranked the number-one online destination for health information in July with more than 8 million unique visitors, was not included on the list. Over the last couple of months, Merck has also launched a downloadable search engine that links to and a free resource to help consumers effectively communicate with their physicians during office visits.

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Video game improves cancer Rx adherence, understanding

Video game improves cancer Rx adherence, understanding

A video game to help kids learn about cancer is resulting in better drug adherence and improved understanding of the disease, reports the Washington Post. In the game, called Re-Mission, players destroy cancer cells and bacteria using a weapon loaded with antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs. The game teaches kids that if they don't destroy every cancer cell, the disease could come back, which not only makes them sick, but hurts their score in the game. A study of cancer patients aged 13-29 showed that those who played Re-Mission adhered more closely to their antibiotic regiments and maintained higher chemotherapy drug levels, reports the Post. The game is free for cancer patients and the company behind it, nonprofit HopeLab, has distributed 40,000 copies since April.

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Pew survey: Most online health seekers start at search engine

 Pew survey: Most online health seekers start at search engine

A new survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project shows that eight in 10 Internet users--about 113 million adults--have searched online for information about at least one of 17 health topics. Most searchers--66%--started their health searches at a search engine, whereas 27% started at a health-related Web site. Younger health information seekers were more likely to start their search at a search engine. For example, 74% of respondents aged 18–29 started at a search engine, compared with 65% of those aged 30–49. Thirty-four percent of those aged 65 and older started at a specific health Web site. Also, health seekers are more likely to be women. The Pew report showed that 82% of online women have searched the Web for health information, compared to 77% of men.

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Moms prefer Web and word of mouth, feel marketing disconnect

Moms prefer Web and word of mouth, feel marketing disconnect

Marketers need to do a better job connecting with moms, and a good way to do that is online, since 95% of moms say they go online at least once per day, according to new research that will be presented this week during the Marketing to Moms Conference in Chicago. Only 20% of moms say marketers do a good job of connecting with them, and 67% say they would rather get product information from a peer than a celebrity mom, reports MediaPost. The research shows that moms spend more time online than they do watching TV, and estimates of the online mom population range from 21.2 million to 31 million. Eighty-eight percent of moms rely on the Internet for parenting advice, guidance, and child-rearing ideas, 86% have made an online purchase, and 85% have clicked on an online ad. Also, word-of-mouth marketing is important to moms, and 91% of them prefer brands that other moms recommend.

Go to the Million Dollar Moms Web site to learn more.

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WOMMA Ethics Assessment Tool

WOMMA launches tool to curb unethical word of mouth campaigns

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) has developed a tool to help marketers identify and curb unethical word of mouth marketing campaigns before they are launched. The tool uses 20 questions that marketers should ask before initiating a campaign, such as whether campaigns use undercover marketing that might mislead consumers and whether a campaign's claims are accurate. The tool is based on WOMMA's ethics guidelines, which include honesty in relationships, opinions, and identity. The WOMMA Ethics Assessment tool is currently being circulated for public comment. Go to to submit or read comments and to check out the tool. Earlier this year, WOMMA sponsored a Web site and blog to help marketers understand what consumers are talking about and how to effectively join the conversation.

WOMMA Ethics Assessment Tool
"The Ethics 20 Questions"
Discussion Draft For Public Comment

The Ethics 20 Questions

  • Ask these questions before launching any word of mouth marketing campaign.
  • Get answers from your agencies and vendors, as well as from their subcontractors.
  • Think about the risks to your reputation before you cross any ethical lines.

Remember: Consumers come first, honesty isn't optional, and deception is always exposed.

For more information, visit

    Honesty of Relationship

  1. Do we insist that our advocates always disclose their relationship with us -- including all forms of compensation, incentives, or samples?

    Honesty of Opinion

  2. Do we insist that all opinions shared with the public express the honest and authentic opinion of the consumer or advocate without manipulation or falsification?
  3. Are those individuals who are speaking for us free to form their own opinions and share all feedback, including negative feedback?
  4. Is all of the information provided to advocates, consumers, and the media factual and honest, and are all of our claims accurate?

    Honesty of Identity

  5. Have we repudiated and forbidden all forms of shill, stealth, and undercover marketing?
  6. Does everyone working on our behalf use their true identity and disclose their affiliation with our company and agencies?
  7. Do we forbid the blurring of identification in ways that might confuse or mislead consumers as to the true identity of the individuals with whom they are communicating?
  8. Do we forbid the use of expressly deceptive practices from our employees/advocates, such as impersonating consumers; concealing their true identities; or lying about factors such as age, gender, race, familiarity with or use of product, or other circumstances intended to enhance the credibility of the advocate while deliberately misleading the public?

    Taking Responsibility

  9. If we use agents or volunteers of any sort, do we actively instruct them in ethical practices and behaviors and insist that all of those working under our instructions similarly comply with this standard?
  10. Do we instruct all advocates to repeat these instructions and responsibilities in the downstream conversation?
  11. Do we have a plan to monitor any inappropriate word of mouth generated by our advocates?
  12. Do we know how will we correct any inappropriate or unethical word of mouth done by volunteers or resulting from actions taken by us?
  13. Do we insist that campaign organizers disclose their involvement when asked by consumers or the media and provide contact information upon request?

    Respecting the Rules

  14. Do we respect and honor the rules of any media we might use, including all such procedures and stipulations as may be deemed appropriate by specific websites, blogs, discussion forums, traditional media, or live events? (Examples of actions that break the rules: violating the terms of service of any online site, spamming, violating privacy rules, or defacing public property.)
  15. Do we prohibit all word of mouth programs involving children aged 13 and younger?
  16. If our campaign involves communicating with or influencing minors aged 14 to 17, do we a) have mechanisms in place to protect the interests of those teens, and b) have parental notification mechanisms in place, where appropriate?

    When Hiring an Agency

  17. Does the agency subscribe to the same high standards of ethical behavior and practice, and are they willing to guarantee the ethics of their own work as well as that of all subcontractors?
  18. Do they have reporting and operational review procedures in place permitting us to ensure full compliance with all ethical standards?
  19. Have they previously engaged in unethical practices?
  20. If they have ever engaged in such practices in the past, do they now prohibit them, and will they guarantee that they will not use employees who have engaged in fraudulent practices to work on our behalf?

    As An Extra Measure of Assurance, Ask Yourself…

  • Would I be uncomfortable if my family or friends were involved in this campaign?
  • Is there anything about this campaign that we would be embarrassed to discuss publicly?
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Novartis-sponsored Web site features actor, free downloads

Novartis-sponsored Web site features actor, free downloads

Novartis is sponsoring a Web site and educational program about sickle cell disease featuring African American actor Larenz Tate. The site,, is designed to raise awareness about iron overload, a possible side effect from frequent blood transfusions for sickle cell disease. The disease affects about one in 500 African Americans, and iron overload is an under-recognized complication of transfusions. In addition to tools and information about iron overload, also includes "fun" features, such as downloadable computer wallpaper and an autographed picture of Tate. The site links to, another Novartis-sponsored site, where users can sign up for free information from the company. Novartis makes the iron overload treatment Exjade.

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HCP/Market Conditioning Website (Prostate Cancer)

Abbott is researching selective endothelin-A receptor antagonists (SERAs) to determine their potential to change the natural progression of cancer by blocking endothelin-1 (ET-1) from binding to the endothelin-A (ETA) receptor.
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Monday, October 30, 2006

Joslin adds educational diabetes video series to Web site

Joslin adds educational diabetes video series to Web site      

The Joslin Diabetes Research Center has added a series of educational videos to its Web site. The six-part Staying Healthy with Diabetes series features Joslin physicians giving viewers information about some of the important tests they need to stay healthy with diabetes. The videos cover tests for A1C levels, blood pressure, kidney function, and lipid levels, and eye and foot exams. For example, the video about eye exams features a Joslin physician who explains the importance of eye exams, what patients can expect during the exam, and the consequences for failing to care for the eyes, saying that "diabetes is the leading cause of preventable new onset blindness in working age adults." According to Joslin's Web site, it works with pharma companies for CME and other educational services.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Students Produce Movies With Cell Phones

Students Produce Movies With Cell Phones
Sunday October 29 2:55 PM ET

The cameras capture the young man walking down the stairs, reciting a monologue about the three things people should know about him: His favorite movie is "Gone with the Wind," he loves roller coasters and he hates when people don't take him seriously.

The shot is complicated and takes several attempts to perfect. But there's no big camera equipment, no expert sound system and no reels of film to capture the moment.

Instead, everyone involved, from the three cameramen and the sound guy to the extras, is producing the miniature movie with and for cell phones.

The exercise is part of a new Boston University class created through a unique partnership with cellular company Amp'd Mobile and taught by director Jan Egleson. During the semester, the students will produce a series of short episodes that eventually will be distributed by the company for its cellular customers. The students have challenged each other to shoot it using only the phones, despite obstacles surrounding sound and video quality.

The class, which the university believes is the only one of its kind in the country, offers students credit and a chance to be part of the new media culture where anyone, anywhere, can create, distribute and view entertainment using a variety of emerging technologies. Amp'd benefits by getting mobile content created by one of its targeted audiences: young, tech-savvy adults.

Amp'd, whose backers include Qualcomm Inc. and Viacom Inc., is trying to compete with mainstream cellular players like Cingular Wireless by branding itself as a youth-oriented company offering more than just phone service. It sells comedy clips, cartoons and music videos for subscribers to watch on cell phones for prices that start at 45 cents for a single download to $20 for unlimited access.

Most content is geared toward people ages 18 to 35.

"They're all about anywhere, anytime," said Seth Cummings, Amp'd Mobile's senior vice president for content, who helped start the program at his alma mater. "They want to be able to take their media with them."

Amp'd has hired established writers to create original content, but Cummings said the company decided to work with BU to target budding artists.

"I know that when I was there, there was this stuff that we'd create that there was no outlet (for)," Cummings said. "There's a real outlet here."

The medium is so new, the students and Egleson spent some time in a recent class debating what to call their work. Options included mobisodes (mobile episodes), mobilettes or cellenovelas (cellular telenovelas).

"We're on the cutting edge of a new era of film medium," said Mark DiCristofaro, a 21-year-old BU film student. "Why not get on board early?"

And because anyone with a cell phone can make a video and upload it to the Internet to watch on computers or phones, the students said they felt a greater opportunity to get people to see their work. Television production graduate student Chris Miller said cell phones give young filmmakers a new way to distribute their work.

"It's so hard to get the studios to really pay attention, especially the beginning filmmakers," Miller said. "So if they don't want to go that route, you don't have to."

In some respects, Egleson's film class is like any other. In the first hour, he guides the students through a discussion of editing, graphics, music and tone. They work on their series, centered on a group of diverse students who each harbor a secret.

"The bottom line is always that if it's a good story and you get involved, it doesn't matter what format it is," said Egleson, who has directed films and television shows.

Other times, though, the students and teacher run into challenges unique to working with their black, shiny cell phones provided by Amp'd:

_ The phones film for just 15 seconds at a time. For longer scenes, such as the monologue in the stairwell, multiple phones are used.

_ The phones don't pick up sound well. During this class, the students try putting a phone in an actor's pocket or using a makeshift boom created with a tiny microphone and a bendable, green stick.

_ In some scenes, cameramen can be seen in the shots. So when they finish filming, they quickly put their cameras to their ears and become extras casually chatting on the phone.

The picture quality isn't as good as film, either, because the phone's camera records 15 frames per second, compared with the typical 24 to 30 frames per second in movies or on television.

"I wish I could tell you I've done this a million times," Egleson tells the class as they watch him upload their footage stored on the phone's memory cards onto his laptop, done by connecting the phone to the computer with a USB cable.

Miller said the students also have had to adapt their film-making style for the small very small screen. Scenes are shorter, cuts are quicker and visuals are larger. Nobody is trying to make a "Saving Private Ryan" epic, and the students refuse to edit out the quirks, saying they want to create videos the average phone user could make themselves.

"It's not quite as clean as what you'd expect from television. It's a little more raw," Miller said. "It's not your `Everybody Loves Raymond' sitcom."

On the other hand, Egleson said, the phones give the cameramen more flexibility because they aren't lugging around large equipment and can easily whip a phone out of their pocket for spontaneous scenes. And Egleson expects the phone technology to improve quickly.

Paris recently held its second film festival devoted exclusively to movies shot with cell phones. But it's too early to say how popular mobile programming will become in the United States, said Linda Barrabee, an analyst at the Yankee Group, a Boston-based technology research firm.

Although cell phones are ubiquitous, a much smaller percentage of people own phones with the technology to watch videos or subscribe to services to do so.

Current trends, she said, lean toward people being most interested short programming, such as sketches or sports highlights, that they can watch in line at the store or on the subway.

"For the most part, what we're talking about is snacking," she said.

But Barrabee wouldn't rule out feature films watched in segments or even attracting older people, who have more buying power than young adults.

Despite the challenges and uncertain future, a wave of enthusiasm traveled through a recent three-hour BU class, from the experimental filming to the writing session.

"I feel like I should pay $7 for this," one student said as the class crowded around cell phones and computers to watch their edited footage.

Which is exactly what Amp'd Mobile wants to hear.


On the Net:

Boston University:  

Amp'd Mobile:  

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