Global Agency Partner
Preventing adverse events from compromising agency campaigns (and their client relationships)
Pharma advertising is surging, especially online. According to industry trade publication Fierce Pharma*, digital advertising in the pharmaceutical industry is expected to reach $10 billion in 2020.
This was good news for our client: A global agency known for its strong digital marketing capabilities and a large roster of pharma brands. As a result, the agency found itself creating more and more digitally-led marketing campaigns.
However, these campaigns also required the agency to provide a dedicated compliance resource to ensure its social media activities followed FDA and EMA guidelines for reporting Adverse Events.
Unfortunately, one campaign’s success drew an unexpected spike in social media engagement, and the agency quickly found itself in hot water.
Source: Fierce Pharma, Pharma and healthcare's digital ad spend to reach $10B next year: Report. April 24, 2019.
These campaigns also required the agency to provide a dedicated compliance resource to ensure its social media activities followed FDA and EMA guidelines for reporting Adverse Events.
Just three months into the campaign, an unpredictable increase in conversation volume on the pharma brand’s owned social media pages overwhelmed the agency team. Then, the unthinkable happened. An Adverse Event was missed, going unreported to the client’s pharmacovigilance team. What’s more, the agency team experienced an unexpected influx of harmful content to the brand’s Facebook page. What started as a successful campaign launch, quickly became a major compliance risk for the brand. It also put the agency’s client relationship at risk. Here’s are some of the challenges the agency team encountered:
Although the agency team received basic drug safety training from the brand, pharma social media compliance was not a core competency.
The agency team could not scale in real-time as the conversation volume surged to up to 8,000 comments per month.
No quality assurance
The agency team was not equipped with expert workflows to process potential AEs, and could not provide a full audit trail to client compliance teams.
Missed adverse events
As the agency team quickly became overwhelmed, AEs slipped through the cracks and were missed, threatening the client’s license to operate.