I don’t think I’ve ever seen a prescription product promoted on LinkedIn. Now I’m sure there have been some and I’ve just missed them, but since this was my first time seeing one, I thought that perhaps there might be others who haven’t seen this and would be interested in seeing an example.
This month, I have seen ads for Ozempic(R) by Novo Nordisk on LinkedIn on several occasions. Ozempic is an injectable prescription product which is indicated for the once weekly treatment of adult patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus to improve glycemic control. Here is the Canadian Ozempic product monograph by Novo Nordisk for those who would like more information about this product.
I have seen 2 versions of the Ozempic ad on LinkedIn. The wording and image (brand logo) are identical, except the layout is different. You can see them below. The ads are simple, but the mechanism used to communicate directly to healthcare professionals is creative:
Since LinkedIn is a public, non-gated site, any ads on this site would be considered direct-to-consumer advertising. In Canada, when promoting a prescription product to the public in general, only the product name, price and quantity can be mentioned. The Ozempic LinkedIn ads follow those regulations.
However, based on the verbiage of the ad, it is obvious that Novo Nordisk is not targeting consumers. They are solely targeting Canadian physicians with this ad, but they still need to treat the ad as a direct-to-consumer ad since it could be viewed by consumers who could then click on the link.
The Ozempic website that one gets directed to when clicking on the ad is gated and can only be accessed by either a physician, nurse or pharmacist who can provide their licence number. This is considered appropriate gating of a website by Health Canada.
I don’t have access to the views and clicks that Novo Nordisk is getting for these ads, but in general, most of us know that LinkedIn is a network for business people, and that includes healthcare professionals. As such, I think it makes sense for Novo Nordisk to at least give LinkedIn a try for its advertising. It is clearly an innovative means to get their message out to target healthcare professionals and the ad is implemented within the regulatory confines of the Canadian pharmaceutical industry. Novo Nordisk may also be advertising on physician-specific sites such as Sermo and targeting Canadian physicians, but perhaps they are focusing on LinkedIn as a start since the advertising fees on Sermo are quite steep, however they can offer repetitive visibility to your specific target.
If you are managing a product that is targeted to healthcare professionals, don’t discard social media sites just because of regulatory restrictions. You may have to test a few variations and different sites, but there is a way to communicate your message to your target audience. Congratulations to Novo Nordisk for trying out a newer way of communicating directly with healthcare professionals.