Finally Pharma Are Embracing Social Media for Patient Recruitments

Finally Pharma Are Embracing Social Media for Patient Recruitments

Big Pharma to finally embracing social media for clinical trial engagements and recruitments. Great initiative!

Though pharmas are experimenting with social media for patient recruitment in the recent years, its involvement has been low. In 2012, Most of Big Pharma’s social media activity has been limited to listening or borrowing.

But building a social media presence would be the most powerful and rewarding path .That’s because to use social media’s greatest strengths, one must commit to a long-term presence.

The companies are using social media accounts, with full corporate branding attached, to recruit for clinical trials. They are going beyond mere clinical trial awareness and posting calls-to-action focused on driving patient referrals.

Their social media posts are suggestive of a new trend in patient recruitment.

Criteria for Inclusion of those names in our article:

  • Big Pharma AccountsNow smaller pharma and biotechs have been more willing to get into social media platform, but we not focus on them here. The accounts need to be owned by Big Pharma and not a third party. The former is constructing, while the latter is simply taking it.

  • Recruitment Messaging – Posts need to be focused at driving patient referrals to trials and not about in general clinical trial awareness.

  • Not a mere social advertise – Posts should appear on the company’s organic social media feed and not only as a social advertise. This criterion is actually out of practicality. We are aware of social media ads being placed using Big Pharma social accounts, but that's what we are not talking about. The companies doing its social media patient recruitment only using ads doesn't appear organically in their feed, so those companies are not included below.

This final point is important because it means that the social media posts we are highlighting are a limited view of activity. Big Pharma is engaging in a lot more social media patient recruitment than you see here.


Of all the big names, they seems to be most actively engaging in social media for clinical trial recruitments. Novartis has corporate Facebook and Twitter accounts that sometimes post about selective clinical trials. Moreover Novartis created Facebook and Twitter accounts devoted exclusively to promoting their cancer clinical trials.


Boehringer didn't do much clinical trial recruitment on its social media accounts. But it did experimented with a Facebook and Twitter post about a systemic sclerosis study recently. Can see many more activities.


Pfizer is taking a different approach than Novartis:

  • It is regularly using corporate social media accounts for patient recruitment

  • Don’t have social media accounts specifically for clinical trial recruitment

  • Focus on social media recruitment activity to phase 1 research studies

Parting Thoughts

Collectively, its clear that Big Pharma is getting serious about social media for patient recruitment. Neither of these activities existed even 18 months ago. Nowadays we regularly encounter social patient recruitment ads on social media platforms placed by Big Pharma.

This Big Pharma activity signals greater adoption of social media for patient recruitment and engagement. Adoption means using social media in the way it should be used to create real connections with patients. The conventional approach is operationally inefficient in today's advancing world.

Social media gives benefit of better opportunities!

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