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Pfizer Pushes 'Safety First' on Educational Health Site


Pharmaceutical Executive

Pharmaceutical ExecutivePharmaceutical Executive-09-24-2008
Volume 0
Issue 0

In an effort to give healthcare professionals and patients a one-stop source for factual drug safety information and treatment options, Pfizer has launched a handy new medicine safety Web site with a bevy of bells and whistles.

Pfizer, last Monday, launched an educational, unbranded Web site designed to give legitimate drug safety information to patients and professionals. Located at www.Pfizer.com/medicinesafety, the site is teeming with videos, step-by-step instructional pieces about talking with physicians, and contact information for reporting adverse reactions.

According to Pfizer, the site was established in direct response to the 35 percent of patients who choose not to take their medication due to fear of adverse reactions, and the 27 percent who chose to not fill a prescription for fear of a potential side effect (as cited by Harris Interactive Polls).

“We’ve known for several years now that there’s a lot of misunderstanding about how safety works in the industry,” said Dennis Manion, senior director of communications, safety and risk manager at Pfizer. “This is a misperception problem that leads to a health outcome that is bad.”

Pfizer decided that this was an opportunity to bridge a gap between patients and the system, and wanted to compile all the information in one place that would be easy to find and read. The site is clean in design, but full of many multimedia tools including, animated graphics to help explain how people visualize risk and video hosts help visitors wade through the different terminology.

“We knew that we could make the site with a few graphics and some text, or we could do it really well and make it as accessible to as many audiences as possible,” Manion said in an interview with Pharm Exec. “We opted to go with the graphic heavy, interactive mode so that the educational experience would be more valuable.”

The team behind the site is now working with the National Patient Safety Foundation to adapt NPSF’s “Ask Me Three,” campaign for the Pfizer site. In a few weeks, a new section on the safety site will list three questions that patients can ask their doctors about drug safety.

With most patients and consumers trolling the Internet and searching for health and disease state information (rather than branded drug names), the Pfizer site gives people a legitimate location for information that isn’t a health blog. Manion said that this was one of the reasons Pfizer built the site. But the primary motivation was to make sure that the audience receives unfiltered messages, free of commercial associations.

“Clearly, Pfizer is a for-profit company that makes drugs, and we hope doctors prescribe [our drugs], but the lack of information is so great that there is a public health need that we have to fill,” Manion said. “Down the road, if patients are more educated and are having more informed discussions with their doctors, we hope we will be one of the beneficiaries of that. And if one of our competitors are-so be it.”

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