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Jan17
BioPharma Company Cephalon Takes Tentative Step Into The Healthcare Blogosphere
As readers of this blog are aware, I’m always on the lookout for examples of how healthcare companies are utilizing technology to communicate with their stakeholders.  Recently, I learned about a Website developed by Cephalon, a biopharmaceutical company that develops medications for “disorders of the central nervous system, pain, cancer and addiction.”

Cephalon has launched an educational Website focusing on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), ADHDbalance.net. The site features a wealth of information about ADHD.

What I found most interesting is that Cephalon goes beyond many other non-branded pharma Websites I’ve seen by featuring content from expert-produced blogs.  These Weblogs are written by parents, psychologists and others who have tips for people trying to care for children with the condition.   Cephalon’s Website is one of the few examples I’ve seen of a pharmaceutical company featuring blogs on a company branded online property.  Cephalon’s efforts are instructive because they provide an example of how drug firms are overcoming some of the legal and regulatory challengers associated with Web 2.0 technologies.  For example:

-Cephalon controls the content on its blogs by posting pre-approved content and disabling comments and trackbacks.  While the content on the site is valuable, what prevents it from becoming more useful is the fact that commentary on articles posted by Cephalon’s Expert Voices is not available for people to peruse, share and react to.  However, Cephalon does encourage readers to send comments directly to the authors of blog posts.  These responses may or may not be addressed in the future.  This makes Cephalon’s site very self-contained and less of a community building tool.

-Cephalon clearly must have a mechanism in place to vet reader comments and direct commentary about medication side effects or other issues to the appropriate FDA officials.

-The company overcomes suspicion that its content is inherently biased by featuring information from people coping with the condition.  For example, it has partnered with a respected third party organization, the Children and Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHAAD).  The developers of CHAAD’s new training program, Parent-to-Parent: Family Training on ADHD, have a blog on the Website.

Overall, this site indicates that pharmaceutical companies are looking for ways to better engage their audiences online.  While ADHDbalance.net represents a tentative foray into the healthcare blogosphere due to its closed nature, it is clearly is a step forward and I’m sure product managers and marketers in other pharmaceutical companies are closely examining what Cephalon is doing.    

2 Comments/Trackbacks




Do you have any thoughts about why they have chosen to cut-off all dialogue (thru turned-off comment feature)? It would seem that they could simply moderate comments posted, thereby still permitting their visitors to have a voice?

Gary:

I'm not sure why Cephalon turned off comments. It might have to do with resources, fear of negative commentary or a wish to prevent dialogue about side effects or specific medications from being posted. There are ways around this and I'm hoping that Cephalon decides to foster conversation about ADHD in the future. However, Cephalon's efforts are a step forward for the biopharma industry.

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