GSK has launched a blog authored by their very own Steve Burton, VP of weight control for GSK consumer healthcare. (Thanks to Debbie Weil who posted and consulted on this).
Alliconnect just launched. The blog is in support of their alli, weight loss medication. The product site can be found here. Before jumping to the blog, consider the product site with fairly active message boards. They are allowing lots of good discussion including this excerpt:
"If anyone is expecting a miracle drug in this product, you are NOT going to get it. The information on this product is so misleading. It says you can lose up to 50% more on this pill than dieting or exercising alone..."
But later on in that thread another poster (and others) share different POVs:
"I think that they mean following the alli plan will allow you to lose 50% more weight. I noticed the problem also, but then realized that I would get the benefit of not absorbing all the fat AND be forced to eat a low fat (usually low calorie also) diet. I have a hard time overeating things that are low in fat because they usually not very interesting"
Allowing this type of open dialogue is a great step for a pharma. I believe it will pay off for them (the drug must be good, too.)
Alliconnect, the blog, is there to officially answer questions. They have a "legal stuff" blurb that goes like this:
"This blog is written by employees of GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare who are authorized to speak on behalf of the company.
Our posts and answers to your comments reflect our company's point of view. They are based on the latest in science and what we've learned from talking to consumers.
When we offer personal points of views, or talk about our experience with alli, we'll make sure that's clear."
I particularly like that Steve Burton of GSK who authors the blog says that he used the product to lose 60 pounds and has kept it off for 3 years ( I guess that means he used the drug in clinical trials as it was just released). Here is a drug category that really requires the patient to play an extremely active role. GSK makes that clear and is offering some of the tools like discussion boards that can help.
This step forward into social media will be a huge leap for pharma. It is particularly valuable for this category but others will follow.