Guest speaker at PAAB training

Natalie Bourré, guest speaker at Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board (PAAB) training.

How exciting! I will be presenting again at the upcoming PAAB training workshops. This time, I will be updating you on some social feature changes that are soon to appear on the PAAB website. I will also give you a quick demo so that you can see for yourself how the new social features will benefit you, your team and your clients. These PAAB website social feature updates were announced back in May, but soon they will be a reality.

Natalie from Marketing 4 Health will be presenting the new PAAB website social features at the upcoming PAAB training workshops. Ask your questions now!

Will you be at the PAAB training in Montreal on November 26 or in Toronto on November 28 2019? If so, I look forward to seeing you there. I will be physically present at the Toronto PAAB training workshop but I won’t actually be physically present in Montreal. I’ll be popping in digitally but you can still send me a note to say ‘hello’!

In the meantime, to help me better prepare, please let me know if you have any specific questions regarding the PAAB website social feature updates so that we can address them at the PAAB training workshop. You can do so by leaving me a comment below, by email at , or via my profile on LinkedIn or my company page, Marketing 4 Health. Be sure to follow me and my page also, it makes my day 🙂

Start your Q1 deliverables now!

You are still in that Summer mode. Everything is a bit slower. You might even have a few more vacation days that you want to squeeze in before Summer is gone. That’s fine, but be sure to go full speed ahead with your planning for your Q1 marketing deliverables as soon as possible.

I know what you’re thinking; It’s still early, so I must be exaggerating, right? Nope!

When I used to manage a marketing team, I encouraged my team members to give themselves about 5-6 months for planning, execution and delivery, and even then, sometimes certain projects would get stalled and risk not getting delivered on time. Every company has a unique approval process and whether you like it not, some red tape that you have to work through. My team dealt with the co-promotion products of the company, therefore this meant a little extra timing was required in order to get input and approvals from all required parties on both sides. And let’s face it, some projects are way more complex than others. If you need to get approval from a 3rd party such as the Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board (PAAB) or Ads Standards Canada (ASC), be aware of how many days they require to do a first review and then subsequent reviews. Simpler projects may only require 1 or 2 reviews, but complex projects may require many subsequent reviews.

Steps to take into account

Here are the steps that you need to account for when determining how much time you need to produce a tool to produce a tool from start to finish. The timing for each step will differ based on the company and the project in mind, and some of the steps will differ as well;

  1. Concept planning
    • Depending on the type of company that you work for, this might be done in a very small group (sometimes it might be just the marketer, although this is not the ideal situation). This is usually done in a cross functional meeting, where team members from various departments will gather to come up with a concept that meets a particular strategic objective. Departments that might be included in this beginning meeting are regulatory, medical, market access, sales, market research and any other who may provide insights and expertise on the strategy being tackled or who will be involved in implementing the project at some point. Sometimes, an agency may be involved at this point if there is an agency of record already established for the brand.
  2. The agency develops the concept in writing.
  3. The internal cross-functional team reviews the agency’s copy internally to ensure that the essence of the project has been met.
  4. Once the concept is approved, the agency produces a visual layout.
  5. The cross functional team does an internal review of the agency’s layout.
  6. The project gets certification in English via the final sign off by a senior manager who is ultimately responsible for the project.
  7. Translation if required.
  8. Certification of the project in French.

The Project Type Matters

The entire process timeline from conceptualization to delivery for a marketing project truly depends on the type of project. The following examples all assume that either PAAB or ASC review and approval are required;

  • a simple dosing slimjim might take 3 months
  • a detail aid might take 4-5 months
  • a website might require 6-10 months
  • anything that is innovative from a technology perspective, such as a podcast or an augmented reality project, may require 6-12 months

A medical marketing consultant could be your solution

Medical marketing consultants can help you at various stages of your marketing project process. so that you can focus on your priorities and still manage to meet your delivery timelines. You may need some strategic input, a medical writer or somebody to manage your internal and external (PAAB, ASC) approvals. Contact Marketing 4 Health Inc. for your medical marketing solutions.

Medical and Healthcare companies on the 2019 Fortune Change the World list

For the past 5 years, Fortune has been publishing a list of companies who are using creative tools and methods as part of their business model to meet unmet needs in the world. This year, 2019, a total of 52 companies made the list, 7 of which are healthcare and medical companies. This is a jump from 2018 as there were only 3 healthcare and medical companies which made the list then.

Congratulations to the 7 healthcare and medical companies that made it on the 2019 Fortune ‘Change the World’ list. Patients and healthcare stakeholders everywhere are grateful for your drive and commitment to making health a priority. The healthcare and medical companies that made the 2019 Change the World list are listed below along with their ranks within the the list of 52 in total:

#7 Centene : Centene is an insurer who is making a different in the lives of the disabled. In 2017, it launched its Provider Accessibility Initiative, distributing grants to remove barriers to care. 

#15 BD : BD’s products, including its test to rapidly detect drug-resistant tuberculosis and its infection-prevention equipment, are tools to combat antimicrobial resistance. 

#17 EssilorLuxottica : In 2013, Essilor—now part of EssilorLuxottica, launched 2.5 New Vision Generation (2.5NVG), a line of more affordable (but still stylish) prescription glasses targeted at the 2.5 billion people around the world—almost entirely in low-income countries—who suffer from uncorrected poor vision. After much engineering work, the company now makes glasses that cost as little as 50¢ a pair to manufacture, and that retail for no more than three to four days’ pay in a given country. 

#27 GoodRx : GoodRx’s website allow consumers to comparison shop and find discounts for prescription drugs at more than 70,000 pharmacies nationwide.  About 50% of US physicians advise their patients consult GoodRx. 

#33 Narayana Health : The health care group, which has grown to 24 hospitals (all but one in India), makes treatment affordable in part by being judicious with skilled workers’ time: Senior surgeons swoop in for just the most challenging part of a procedure.

#43 Philips : Philips aims to be carbon-neutral in 2020, and relies on wind energy in both the U.S. and the Netherlands—and the energy use of its products, from more efficient MRI systems in hospitals to the batteries in rechargeable electric toothbrushes. Meanwhile, it is pushing to cut its waste to zero by taking back large medical equipment, to reuse and refurbish components. 

#47 Icon Group : The Icon Group, Australia’s largest private cancer care provider, aims to reach patients close to home through telemedicine, remote radiation therapy, and partnerships in underserved markets.

Disclosure: No affiliation with Fortune or the companies that made it on the 2019 Change the World list.

Early bird pricing for the PAAB training

If you would like to network with Canadian pharmaceutical colleagues, meet with existing and potential new clients, as well as brush up on your PAAB knowledge, then you might want to attend the upcoming PAAB training workshop.

Register before September 28 to benefit from their early bird sale. The more people you sign up for the workshop, the bigger the price discount. You can register directly on the online registration form.

Montreal PAAB training: Tuesday, November 26th, 7:00 am to 3:30 pm

Toronto PAAB training: Thursday, November 28th, 7:00 am to 3:30 pm

Marketing 4 Health Inc. is proud to be a promoter of the PAAB training event again this year.

For medical copywriting or marketing project management services requiring PAAB approval, please contact Nat at .

Searching for Presenters for November PAAB Workshops

Update: The submission deadline has been extended to September 2nd. There will be no further extensions.

The Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board (PAAB) is doing something new this year; they are inviting clients to submit for an opportunity to present at the November 2019 PAAB workshops. Here are the details, criteria and caveat regarding the submission and acceptance of a proposed PAAB presenter, as per the PAAB workshop website:

For more information on how to become a speaker at the PAAB workshops, visit the PAAB workshop website.

Save-the-date: Become a Leader in Compliant Marketing and Communications

  • Montreal: November 26, 2019 (Crowne Plaza, 6600 Côte de Liesse, Saint-Laurent)
  • Toronto: November 28, 2019 (Delta Hotels by Marriott, 655 Dixon Road, Toronto)

For more information on the agenda and speakers of the PAAB workshops, visit the PAAB workshop website.

Marketing 4 Health Inc. is proud to be supporting the Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board (PAAB) again by helping to promote their upcoming PAAB workshops. I will be at the PAAB workshop in Toronto. I hope to see you there!

Contact Nat at Marketing 4 Health Inc. for help with your PAAB-related project:

Contact information for Nat at Marketing 4 Health Inc:

  • Email:
  • Call/text: 647-871-4NAT(4628) Video Creator for Marketing Consultants

As a marketing consultant, I am called upon for a variety of marketing projects. Since I work on the social media channels of some of my medical and pharmaceutical clients, there are times when I need to design professional-looking videos to capture the audience’s attention. I also need to promote my own business, and as a small business owner, I don’t have time to fiddle with video editors for very long. You see, I am not a designer, but I have a wide array of tools that help me produce high quality designs quickly and at a low cost for my clients and for my own business. I’ll let you in on a secret – when it comes to video editors, I now use and I absolutely love it. It’s become my go-to video creator and video editor. Here are a few videos that I created for a client and all it took was 5 minutes of my time. They are by no means perfect, but they look good and they got my client’s message across … and they each only took a few minutes to create. As entrepreneurs, we don’t have time to fiddle with complex technology. We need to get the job done well so that the client is satisfied and we fell proud of our work, but we need to get it done with the fewest hurdles possible.

Video is the way to go these days, so there is no escaping it. You might as well use a tool that is versatile, user-friendly, professional-looking, fast and easy to use. All of that perfectly describes .

InVideo offers 3 startup points when creating a new video; 1) Convert your script to a video, 2) Readymade versatile templates, and 3) Build your own video.

  1. Convert your script to a video

This startup point is excellent for bloggers who want to quickly create videos highlighting some of the key points of their blog post. And when I say quick, I mean fast, very fast. You just need to insert the URL of the blog post in question and edit. InVideo automatically creates text and image options for you. You just need to edit as you see fit. For example, you can choose or delete selected text from your blog post. InVideo suggests images for each segment, but you can delete these suggestions and go with your preferred images.

You can create a horizontal, square or vertical video. Templates are set up to help you create Stories or Listicles.

2. Readymade versatile templates

This is my favorite feature. You can create a horizontal, square or vertical video. Templates are set up to help you create Instagram videos, Video ads, Product videos, Intro/Outro, Instagram stories, Testimonials and Bumper ads.

3. Build Your Own Video

It’s exactly as it says; you start with a blank area and you create the video your way. You can create a horizontal, square or vertical video.

Benefits of InVideo

  • InVideo is intuitive yet powerful
  • User-friendly for beginners
  • Beginners can provide professional-looking videos of high quality
  • Create videos quickly
  • InVideo offers over 100 templates and this number keeps growing. There is something to meet every client’s needs.
  • Everything is customizable. You can add, remove elements as you see fit.
  • You can create videos from 3-10 minutes, depending on your plan
  • You can also have multiple users, again depending on your plan
  • There is a free plan that you can use to try it out.

The only downside I can see for some users is that the product is currently only usable on Google Chrome. Personally, I’m a big fan of Google Chrome, so this suited my needs perfectly, but I realize that not everybody feels the same way. However, the folks that created the InVideo app seem super responsive to their users’ needs, so I’m sure this is something that is on their list of things to do to improve their platform.

If you would like to see some of their planned improvements, you can check out their publicly posted InVideo roadmap.

If you would like to learn more about the InVideo app, take a look here; and let me know what you think.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links to InVideo, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. And if you have purchased via my affiliate link, thank you!

PAAB Social Features on their Website: What to Expect

A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to be one of several volunteers on the PAAB Website Social Functionality Committee, which was chaired by Jennifer Carroll (Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board – PAAB). Members of this PAAB Social committee consisted of both agency and client stakeholders;

PAAB Website Social Functionality Committee, 2019

What prompted the need for PAAB social features?

One of the PAAB’s business objectives is to increase client engagement in a more timely and regular basis.  What better way to do this than to allow ones’ stakeholders to reach out to the PAAB as well as to directly engage with other PAAB stakeholders online, whenever the need arises.  To help with this objective, the PAAB decided to form a Website Social Functionality Committee consisting of multiple stakeholders to provide guidance and practical feedback on social features for the PAAB website.

The PAAB Website Social Functionality Committee was initiated as a result of these issues. The objective of the committee was to determine how to configure social features on the PAAB website with the following considerations in mind;

  • How to promote client use of the social feature
  • How to effectively manage risks associated with the social feature
  • How to generate useful data and powerful insights contributing to PAAB’s mandate of continuous improvement

Juliana and I presented the final plan to the PAAB Board of Directors, which got approved. Yeah!! The PAAB has given me approval to publicly share insights about some of their website changes to come.

Proposed revisions to the PAAB website’s social features:

A PAAB staff member will be assigned to identify all similar documents throughout the PAAB website and group them in the same location to create sub-categories so that they can all be found more readily by the user. Whoever will be responsible for this assignment is going to be very busy!

New social features will be added to the existing website. Below are some of the key details:

  • PAAB website users will be able to like, share and comment per document OR per sub-category
    • Each document will have its own comments feed
    • People can comment at a concept level or at a specific document level. So when you see the comment, you will know what it is connected to.
    • Document comments won’t show up in categories, but if you’re on the category page, you’ll be able to see the amount of activity on each document, but it won’t assimilate all the comments.  That could get too messy.
    • You can also ‘like’ documents so users can filter a view based on popularity if they wish.
    • There will be the option to share documents which will contain static and social content. This will prove to be a great coaching tool for marketers who need to know the PAAB code well. It will also be a useful tool for agencies who need to inform their client as to what can and cannot be done in their marketing tools, and why or why not.

Here’s a made-up example of what all this could look like for a single document and a sub-category of multiple documents.

NOTE: This is only a mock-up for descriptive purposes.  The designs have not been finalized but we wanted you to have an idea of how it could look like : 

The PAAB website; Example of what social functionality on a document

The PAAB website; Example of what social functionality on a sub-category

Who can view, like, comment and share?

Anybody! There will be no limitation in the audience. In general, we anticipate that the audience will mostly consist of Canadian medical marketers or Canadian medical marketing agencies, but healthcare professionals, consumers and patients can also participate.

There will be no requirement that participants use their real names although this is highly encouraged.

Benefits for medical clients and medical marketing consultants and agencies:

The implications of adding social features to the PAAB website go beyond PAAB’s intent of increasing engagement with their clients in a more timely and regular fashion. And the

  • There will be an opportunity to participate at your convenience, 24/7
  • There will be an opportunity to learn (and coach) from the content generated by or in response to your peers’ comments
  • You will have access to an efficient avenue to ask questions which are focused on specific PAAB documents or sub-categories
  • You will have a streamlined mechanism to locate PAAB resources.
  • You will have increased access to training and resource documents.

The PAAB will benefit from this as well:

  • The PAAB will receive client insights on documents and sub-categories
  • The PAAB will see open and transparent communication between users which will provide insight into additional learning needs
  • The PAAB will be able to provide feedback as required which may answer questions from several people all at once, or for those who will come to see the document at a future time.

How does the PAAB plan to manage all of these comments?

You cannot have a social marketing plan without having a risk mitigation plan. Here are some of the high level risk mitigation plans that the PAAB is setting up as we speak;

  • There will be an assigned PAAB staff member who will be responsible for continuous comment monitoring
  • The PAAB will not be responding or commenting on all discussion threads. They will jump in if they need to respond to a question or if there is a comment that is perceived as being high-risk.
  • Responses to frequently-asked-questions are already developed and will be used to respond to these typical questions which may now appear in comments.
  • Comments which are considered to be high risk will be managed individually based on the PAAB escalation process.

When does the PAAB plan to launch the social features on their website?

At the moment, I am unsure. If we get an answer to this, we will update this blog post accordingly.

What do you think of the changes to come?

It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.” 
― Roy T. Bennett

Thank you to the PAAB for allowing me to give you a sneak peek about the upcoming social changes to their website. Furthermore, I am grateful for the confidence that the PAAB has shown me by including me on both the committee and on the presentation team.

I would love to know what you think of all this. Are you looking forward to these changes? Are you a bit weary, and if so, why? Please leave me a comment below.

Health Canada Posts Controversial Topics on Facebook

Health Canada communicates and educates with social media

Health Canada has an active presence on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. They post about anything that is health-related that may be of interest to Canadians, from product recalls to vacation safety tips to vaccination. Their posts are usually of an educational or informative basis.

At the time of writing this blog post, May 8th 2019, the following for Health Canada on their social media networks are as follows:

  • Facebook: 111,142
  • Twitter: 229,000
  • LinkedIn: 99,752
  • YouTube: 4,549

Analysis of the Health Canada Facebook page

For the purpose of this blog post, we decided to take a look at Health Canada’s Facebook page because it has the highest level of engagement per post compared to all of the Health Canada social sites. We also decided to look at only 2019 posts, therefore the following analysis looks at all of the Health Canada Facebook posts from January 1 2019 to May 1 2019.

The Health Canada Facebook page actually goes by the name of “Healthy Canadians“. The page has been in existence since November 2019, and it is managed by 46 Canadian administrators. Approximately 3 posts get published per day on the Health Canada Facebook page, the majority of which are accompanied by a photo, and a few with a video. Health Canada promotes some of its posts, so it is possible that Canadians have seen some of their promoted posts even if they do not follow their page.

Examples of recently promoted Health Canada Facebook posts:

Statistics on Health Canada Facebook Posts

Health Canada posted a total of 376 posts during the first five months of 2019. Most posts are unique in their messaging or are repeated just a few times. For the purpose of this article, we picked out the posts that seemed to repeat a similar message most frequently. Here is what we found;

  • 32 posts on the topic of recalls, which involved either foods or products,
  • 24 posts on the topic of vaccinations,
  • 16 posts on the topic of measles,
  • 12 posts on vaping,
  • 12 posts on cannabis and
  • 10 posts on opioids.
Facebook reaction icons.

The posts that generated the most engagement were on the following topics:

  1. Measles
  2. Vaccination (related to flu or measles)
  3. Recall (food or product)
  4. Vaping **
  5. Opioid **
  6. Cannabis **

** Note that although the vaping, opioid, cannabis topics came in 4th, 5th and 6th place respectively, their total numbers were well below those of the top 3 topics, in the range of 1-4% the total engagement of the top 3 topics.

The posts that generated the most shares were on the following topics:

  1. Recall (food or product)
  2. Measles
  3. Vaccination (related to flu or measles)

The posts that generated the most comments were on the following topics:

  1. Measles
  2. Vaccination
  3. Recall **

** Note that although recall came in 3rd place, its total was well below those of the top 2 topics.

The posts that generated the most likes were on the following topics:

  1. Measles
  2. Recall
  3. Vaccination (related to flu or measles)
  4. Opioid **
  5. Vaping **

** Note that although the opioid and vaping topics came in 4th and 5th place respectively, their total numbers were well below those of the top 3 topics.

The posts that generated the most angry face reactions were on the following topics:

  1. Measles
  2. Salmonella
  3. Vaccination (related to flu or measles)

The posts that generated the most surprise ‘wow’ reactions were on the following topics:

  1. Recall (food or product), by about 5 fold the amount of ‘wow’ reactions for the topic in 2nd place
  2. Measles
  3. Vaccination

Some of the Health Canada Facebook posts are controversial

It is clear that some of Health Canada’s Facebook posts are generating controversy, particularly those generating comments and angry face reactions; measles and vaccination. We are not all that surprised by this but what was surprising was the level of engagement on these two topics compared to the others.

Are people clicking on the angry reaction because they do not like the stance that Health Canada is taking and feel offended, or is it because people who do agree with Health Canada’s stance are angry about the situation? We do not know. However, we do know that this is generating a tremendous opportunity for discussion particularly as we see a large amount of discussion in the comments of both topics. These are obviously delicate and touchy subjects. We commend Health Canada for not shying away from such sensitive topics, as there needs to be education and discussion, and who better than Health Canada to address such issues head-on.


Marketing 4 Health now offers customized social media analytics reports, where you can gather insightful information on your own social media sites and compare them to your competitors’. If are just planning on starting your visibility on social media, why not take a look at what your competitors are doing before finalizing your plans so that you can then outdo your competition?

This can help you better design your communication strategy and content, schedule your posts during optimal times and post with an ideal frequency. Since the analysis can be done on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, our research can help you identify where your audience is more responsive. What we have shown in this particular article is simply a few highlights of what we can uncover for one particular social network.

Contact us today for a quote!

Canadians Now Have Greater Access to Drug and Medical Device Clinical Information

Health Canada has recently released a new clinical information portal that will provide Canadian consumers with easy access to the clinical information that is provided by manufacturers when submitting for approval of new drugs and medical devices. This includes clinical trials and study reports. Closer to the end of this article, you will find a video that walks you through the portal as it currently exists.

Health Canada clinical information from new drug and medical device submissions (screenshot: April 2 2019)

Currently, the site only has 1 drug and 1 medical device as part of the listing, but Health Canada is planning on including the clinical trials and study reports of new drugs 120 days (3 months) after the approval of their new drug submission. Proactive disclosure for medical devices will start in 2021.

With regards to existing drugs and medical devices, my understanding is that Health Canada will provide the clinical trial information upon request and will also add them to the portal as the requests roll in.

It’s clear what this means for consumers – they will have access to highly credible data sources related to their prescription drugs and the medical devices that are used as part of their diagnosis or treatment. This is a good thing, particularly since Canadians are bombarded by U.S. prescription drug ads which give a bunch of clinical information anyways.

But what does this mean for companies that market drugs and medical devices in Canada?

Should companies start to expect more or fewer medical inquiries? My personal guess is that it will increase overall but not by all that much because some consumers will find the information that they were looking for by themselves and will not need to contact the company. Otherwise may have even more questions after reading the documents. Let’s face it – supporting articles for drug product and medical device submissions are loaded with heavy-duty medical and pharmacological information. They will answer some questions and will definitely end up creating new ones as well. But questions about one’s health are good. We want and need our Canadian consumers to be well informed about their health so that they can make better decisions and choices for themselves and the ones they care for.

There might be more transparency about competitive launch dates based on the list of drugs or medical devices that are accessible to all. Market researchers and analysts already keep track of various competitive data, but this will be one more aspect to provide more in depth and credible information.

Once the database is more mature and robust, it will contain a lot of information. This will become pertinent for global pharmaceutical companies looking for sales opportunities in Canada. Before they launch or look for partners, they will be able to easily scope out the landscape in terms competitive activity.

Transparency and accuracy are critical in the era of digital information, so Health Canada made the right decision in moving in this direction, even though some will certainly disagree.

Let us know how you think this will change healthcare and medical marketing in Canada.

Could “Facebook Fact Checkers” Correct Healthcare Misinformation?

A friend of mine on Facebook posted a political meme that has been proven to include inaccuracies, and underneath her post appeared a “related article” with a tag noting that this article had been fact-checked and the content of the article basically cleared up all the issues with the nearby meme.  Being a new feature, at least for me (Facebook sometimes rolls out features at different times for different people), there was a bubble caption to explain what I was seeing for the first time. This is what it looked like;

new fact checkers on fb - jan 8 2019

And when I clicked on ‘fact-checker’, here is the explanation that Facebook gave on how Facebook third-party fact-checkers get selected:

new fact checkers on fb - jan 8 2019 - fb explanation of 'fact checker'

Based on the upcoming American election and the ongoing issues with inaccuracies with certain media outlets, my guess is that fact-checkers will be mandated to focus on political articles.  This is purely a hunch, but it seems like a good starting point.  We should all be made aware of what is the truth and what are inaccuracies from a political perspective.

But this got me thinking; wouldn’t it be amazing if there would also be medical fact-checkers letting people know which articles are posting accurate information versus those who aren’t. Remember that meme that used to suggest to people that they should put flour on their burns?  Yikes!  And then real healthcare professionals were telling people not to do that because it could make matters worse.  There are so many other similar examples.  If there was a Fact-Checker for that type of information, it could save people from an unfortunate situation becoming even worse.  But healthcare and pharmaceuticals can be super complex issues.  The information must be accurate and balanced in order to not mislead people.  Not an easy task, but if we take it one bite-size at a time, and correct the popular memes, that would be we worth the effort as it would save some people from unfortunate incidents.