Case study:
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:

Limited training

Although the agency team received basic drug safety training from the brand, pharma social media compliance was not a core competency.

Unpredictable surges

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.


Crisp jumped in as a supporting partner to help the agency rebuild trust with its pharma client, and create a pharma social compliance program that would quickly and safely reactivate the digital marketing program. Several key factors contributed to the program’s success:

Dedicated analysts

Crisp quickly assigned a team of experienced pharma analysts. With 20 members in place, the team was able to scale rapidly to surges in comment volume.

Expert workflows

Crisp implemented rigorous triple checks of all content and reports via a centralized tracker within 12 hours. Twice daily check-ins rebuilt the client’s confidence.

Timely reconciliation

Using Crisp’s proprietary technology, all actions conducted by Crisp were logged as a system of record, which could be audited by the client’s compliance team.

Formal transitions

Crisp provided non-stop 24/7 coverage, which meant the team could respond to harmful content and detect potential AEs, and escalate them to the agency and client in minutes.

Guaranteed delivery

These actions meant Crisp could guarantee that 100% of potential AEs were detected with zero misses, and any harmful content was escalated to the agency and client within 15 minutes.

Within the first month of going live, the campaign was compliant and free from harmful content. The agency and its client were able to continue their campaign and focus on its success. After three months, the agency migrated all responsibility for Adverse Events detection and escalation of harmful content to Crisp. Not a single Adverse Event has been missed. The agency retained the client's business and is growing its relationship.

Crisp remains a trusted partner to the agency, which has referred others to Crisp.

20 dedicated Pharma analysts working 24/7 globally

12 -hour reporting delivery to client compliance teams

1 happy client retained by agency partner

0 potential adverse events missed by Crisp, as promised

The highest standard in pharmacovigilance and drug safety compliance

Crisp guarantees to detect all potential Adverse Events on the channels it is asked to monitor, including owned social, wider web or sponsored advertorial, and tailors this world-class service to each pharma brand’s individual needs. Find out why Crisp is the highest standard in Pharmacovigilance and Drug Safety Compliance.