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How to stop fake news in the pharmaceutical industry

How to stop fake news in the pharmaceutical industry

Not even pharma is immune to fake news on the Internet these days. This phenomenon now extends to more than politics, making its way to other business areas. So how can we prevent this issue in health? What can companies in this sector do about it?

Online anyone can express their views, not always with a basis on facts. With this, many people can share information without any real consequences. This is one of the good reasons why many governments worldwide are appealing to the importance of fact-checking.

How to stop fake news in the pharmaceutical industry

Fake News in Pharma

In the case of health information, this becomes trickier. People tend to be more sensitive to these themes. They often accept misleading and inaccurate details on a certain topic.

Normally the average online social platform user doesn’t tend to look for sources of information. Many of these don’t even include a citation regarding the main sources of information. Sensationalized headlines are also a great way to exaggerate results or completely remove their context.

Recently a topic that has been plagued with fake news is related to the vaccines for COVID-19. The amount of information makes people confused and suspicious more often of pharma companies than the sources that created this information.

When you search for this topic on Google, there are over 4 950 000 000 results right now. This means that there are several sources available for different people which helps in the spread of misinformation. 

These articles tend to contribute to the public’s perception of many medical topics. In these circumstances, information is heavily distorted. The consequences of this are the increasing mistrust in pharmaceutical companies.

How can pharma prevent this?

This is a delicate matter for pharmaceutical companies, seeing that mistrust in the industry is a long-running issue. Preventing the spread and enabling of fake sources of information must also be a part of pharma brands’ strategy in the future.

Fortunately, many relevant actions help to prevent the fake news of tomorrow. Here we present five relevant steps that companies can plan to prevent this phenomenon and provide the patients with viable health information.

#1: List the main platforms relevant to the industry

While many social media platforms put safeguards to combat fake information, some others are still unmonitored in this regard. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are some that have this covered. But others allow free speech to take place without proper monitoring involved. 

For example, you can be aware of the most common platforms used for anti-vax topics. Revise the information spread in those networks and you can create a content strategy based on facts that undermine their credibility. 

Use your communication channels to spread your word. From your website to your social platforms, you can help combat the spread of misinformation.

#2: Pick the fake news topics that undermine your brand’s work

The health sector has a lot of topics, some more complex than others. Depending on the main acting area of your pharma company, you need to pick your battles wisely, per se. If you see a certain topic reappearing constantly in several online sources you have a basis to start with.

To stop a piece of certain fake information from spreading further, you need to detect them early on. Find out the main claim behind the sources and be sure to correct this information. You can track one or more keywords related to the topic at hand and receive alerts in your e-mail to keep up to date on information being published.

#3: Keep a lookout for the sentiment

With the aforementioned hypothesis of tracking the keywords, you can be further aware of the sentiment around the information at stake. Set up the right queries and you can have a perception of how people feel about your company.

If you feel that negative sentiment is growing or stagnating, it’s time for a change in your communication strategy. Make sure to provide valuable content to both your audience and your most important stakeholders.

#4: Watch the work of your press officers

If you have a press officer in your team or a professional who sends press releases to the media, they need to be aware of what’s published based on the information provided by the company. Sometimes it can happen that journalists unintentionally publish a wrong detail.

Make sure to track your company’s name to have a clearer understanding of where misguiding information is. If you have contact with the author of the article, you can contact him with the correct facts. Otherwise, you can contact the editor of the media company at stake to make the situation known to the press team.

Instead of googling through a possible range of articles published in your name, your company can use a media monitoring tool instead. This way all the recent and relevant information concerning the organization can come to you faster. 

#5: Create your educational content for  several audiences

Even though we’ve already mentioned this hypothesis, you can combat fake news through the production of valuable content for your target audiences. 

From images to infographics, from blog articles to informative newsletters, there’s more than one way to spread facts. The beauty of the digital era we’re in right now is that you can create them in all kinds of formats. However, one type of content has proven to be effective for educating and clarifying several audiences: video marketing.

Video as a medium is a type of content with which many users online interact daily. Not only can people absorb information a lot faster, but they can also engage more easily with this format. There are many video formats you can try out to spread the facts regarding your company or its scientific findings.

Pharmaceutical companies can bet on explainer videos, interactive videos, testimonial videos, and even AR/VR to show information in a new light. Using video as a powerful tool, they can not only simplify complex details. But also help users absorb more reliable information faster than ever.

BlueNovius has two video marketing options aimed at patients or HCP. Using either PubExplainer or MedExplainer, our two video marketing solutions for pharma brands, you can sum up the main points of your medical topics in 90 seconds or less. Combat the spread of fake news through engaging and clarifying video content.

Main conclusions

Misinformation in the health sector needs to be combatted particularly by the companies who represent it. Pharma organizations need to be truthful and transparent in their communication to be viewed as a reliable source of information.

The low trust of the public in pharma is an issue manageable, case by case. In essence, the improvement of communication with the main target audiences is the main step backed by a variety of actions mentioned throughout this article.

You need to monitor the online mentions of the company to know what people say about it. By acknowledging the reputation of your company online, you can take the necessary steps to fix it by spreading reliable and truthful information to gain public trust.

Need help in educating physicians or patients? Do you find it difficult to create content to help them through complex medical themes? BlueNovius has the solution for you. With the help of PubExplainer and MedExplainer, our two video marketing solutions for pharma brands, you can sum up the main points of your medical topics in 90 seconds or less. Book a meeting with our team today to learn more.