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.

Evolution of Novo Nordisk Canada Social Media Campaign for Rx Product, Saxenda®

Whether you have ever tried to lose weight or not, most of us realize that there are peak times when people get motivated to take on the challenge.  And here we are in January, the time when approximately 1/3 of Canadians resolve to work on their fitness levels and nutrition (Source: Statista, Leading New Year’s Resolutions according to Canadians in 2017).

Novo Nordisk Canada understands the mindset of their target audience for Saxenda®, a weight loss prescription medication, and they play to it very well through their evolving Saxenda® social media campaign.  Below you will see how the Saxenda social media campaign started and how it evolved throughout the past 8 months.

May 2018:  Laying down the foundation

Novo Nordisk Canada sponsored Facebook ads promoting the fact that obesity was now considered a chronic illness by several medical organizations.  I only have screenshots of the French ads.  This was a great starting point to lay down the foundation for their upcoming campaigns for both of their prescription weight loss products, Ozempic® and Saxenda® .



June 2018:  Saxenda® Choose Change campaign

The Saxenda Choose Change campaign was launched on Facebook in June 2018.  Novo Nordisk Canada was sponsoring several Facebook ads which were obviously targeted to healthcare professionals, with a call-to-action asking the healthcare professional to watch their 59-second video.  The objective was to get healthcare professionals to start a discussion about obesity with the appropriate patients, with a message that obesity is a disease and is treatable.


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The Saxenda Choose Change campaign was also targeted to overweight Canadians in a wide variety of Facebook ads, in both English and French.  The ads were designed to increase awareness of Saxenda and encourage interested Canadians to speak with their primary care physician about it.  With the frequent mentions of a resolution update, it appears that Novo Nordisk Canada was targeting patients who had tried to lose weight before but were unsuccessful.  It appears that the Saxenda Choose Change campaign was meant to re-inspire these patients.

The Saxenda Facebook ads directed Canadians to where they can learn more about how to speak with their doctor about Saxenda and obtain a discount for their first box of Saxenda.


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September 2018: Back to Saxenda® campaign

Other than January, September seems to be a symbolic time for new beginnings for many people since it is the beginning of a new school year, and Novo Nordisk Canada spun that into their Saxenda campaign with a play-on-words focused on back-to-school; Back to Saxenda and First day of Saxenda.  They also maintained their Choose Change slogan for a few of their Facebook ads.  As you can see, their ads continued to target overweight men as well as overweight women.

Saxenda ads - 1Saxenda ads - 2Saxenda ads - 3


December 2018:  Now is the new later campaign

Fully aware that many people wait for January to take a resolution to lose weight, Novo Nordisk Canada sponsored Facebook ads to motivate overweight Canadians to take action now and not wait until January.  As marketers, we know how that last little push at year-end just might make the difference for a brand to reach its sales objectives for the year.


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Late December 2018:  Countdown to new year resolution

And my personal favorite part of this campaign evolution so far was when Novo Nordisk Canada sponsored Facebook ads for a 3-day countdown to the new year.  A pharmaceutical company can have a bit of fun with its community just like a consumer company!  Understandably, some brands do not have that luxury because of the type of disease that they are associated with, but for certain brands like weight loss prescription products, it works beautifully.

Saxenda - new year countdown - 2 days v2 - error in adSaxenda - new year countdown - 2 days v1Saxenda - new year countdown - 1 day


January 2019:  The Saxenda® resolution campaign

Novo Nordisk Canada is again playing on people’s need for a fresh start by encouraging overweight Canadians to make a new year’s resolution to talk to their doctor about Saxenda.


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Playing by the rules:  Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical advertising

Throughout the evolution of the Saxenda social media campaign, Novo Nordisk Canada played by the direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising guidelines which state that you can only refer to the product name, price or quantity.  You will notice that the ads targeted to patients mention the brand name Saxenda, but they do not mention any indication related to weight loss.  In the ads targeted to healthcare professionals, they have to be careful because even though these ads are not intended for patients, it is possible for a consumer to see it so they must be treated as a direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising ad.  And they are!  The ads either mention obesity or they mention the brand name Saxenda, but never both in the same ad.


Where to follow Novo Nordisk Canada:

You can find the Novo Nordisk Canada Facebook page here, although it is not used to communicate with the online community.  Its main purpose is just to be the anchor page for Facebook ads, which has been a requirement of Facebook for the past year or so.  However, their Twitter account posts more regularly, and you can find them on Twitter here.

Novo Nordisk Canada partnered with Media Platforms for their Saxenda® campaigns.

Saxenda® ads shown in this blog post are all owned by Novo Nordisk Canada.

Let us know what your thoughts are on the evolution of the Saxenda social media campaign in the comments below.

Wishing Ray from PAAB a happy retirement

Natalie et Ray Chepsiuk - PAAB Commissionner - retraiteCongratulations to Ray Chepesiuk on his retirement from the Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board (PAAB)

Over the past 20+ years, he has saved me from getting into regulatory trouble on multiple occasions during my brand management days, and once I went off on my own, he still took the time to discuss topics for my blog and even connected me with various people who might lead to business opportunities. In fact, Ray brought me in for my very first pharma social media training session to train the PAAB reviewers. That was when social media was still in its infancy. One of the highlights of my career was back in 2009 when Ray invited me to sit with him and others on a speaker panel focused on social media & pharma. I felt so intimidated but Ray always showed his confidence in me.

I, as well as many other Canadian pharmaceutical marketers, learned a lot from Ray, both from a regulatory and a leadership perspective. Thank you, Ray, for your kindness, generosity and support throughout all these years. Best wishes on your well-deserved retirement.

OTC Brand Runs Facebook Contest

A Canadian pharmaceutical company based in Ontario launched their Pain Relief brand in 2016.  There are 3 products within the band.  They caught my eye with their fun Christmas giveaway contest on Facebook, which has the objective to raise awareness of the brand and educate on the differences between their three products.  As part of their 24-days of Christmas Giveaways campaign, the company is giving away a free product every day for the first 24 days of December, to one of the people who responded correctly.

Revlex FB contest - announcementRevlex FB contest - day 1 questionRevlex FB contest - day 1 response

If you are considering running a contest on Facebook, please ensure that you are well aware of the rules and regulations first:

Running a Facebook Contest According to the Guidelines

The Facebook contest guidelines change from time to time, so be sure to check them before you set up your own contest.  As of December 2018, the Facebook contest guidelines are as follows (copied and pasted word-for-word);

Considerations to stay within Facebook contest guidelines:
Facebook changes its terms quite frequently, so if you are planning on running a contest on Facebook, make sure that you know and understand their most up-to-date regulations.
Here are a few tips to ensure that you stay within the Facebook contest guidelines:
– To be absolutely safe, run it on your website but promote it on Facebook and other social platforms.  It will drive traffic to your website at the same time.
– Include a statement that your contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered or associated with Facebook
– Clearly state that no purchase is necessary
– Somebody may choose to share your post, but you cannot force them to share as a criteria to win
– You cannot force somebody to like your page as a criteria to win
– You cannot force somebody to tag another person as a criteria to win


Granted, we rarely hear of a page that gets punitive action by Facebook for not abiding by the regulations, but it’s not unheard of.  Pages have even been shut down as a result.

I’m not trying to dissuade people from running contests on Facebook.  Not at all!  I have set up multiple contests for clients, usually using the Woobox app and I have seen their benefits.  However, don’t risk punitive actions on your Facebook page by Facebook because of something that you could have easily corrected in your Facebook contest to make it within the Facebook guidelines.

There are ways to ensure that you have a successful Facebook contest while staying within the guidelines.  Think about it – are you ready to risk having your page shut down and losing all those followers which you probably worked very hard to get in the first place?  I didn’t think so.


Note:  Brand / Company mentioned in this post are not clients.  


Let us know if you have run a Facebook contest before and if so, was it difficult to remain within the Facebook contest guidelines?

Marketing 4 Health is on LinkedIn … Finally !!!

Please click here and follow us on LinkedIn! 

It is ironic that I spend such a big part of my days promoting healthcare and pharmaceutical companies on various social media platforms, but I do not take the time to do it for my own company.  There is a reason for that though – it is simply because I would rather focus my time on my client projects and luckily they are keeping me quite busy! 

(Thank you to all my clients for keeping me busy !!!  Mouahhh !!!)

Like everything else in life, there is never a perfect time, so there is no better time than now.  Marketing 4 Health Inc. is finally going to have an active corporate page on LinkedIn.  Please click here and follow us!  We will share some interesting stuff, we promise!  

Happy holidays!

2018 punched me in the face but I am not giving up

Everybody has a year that remains unforgettable to them for the rest of their life, whether for good reasons or bad ones.  For me, that year is 2018.

I will always remember 2018 as the year that punched me in the face because this was the year that I lost my husband of over two decades. He passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, making me a widowed single mom of 4 young children ranging from 4 to 11 years old.  We were all devastated.  Our world stopped.  Our personal lives and my professional life – everything stopped.

Nat et Frank - 16 juin 1995 - Day before weddingIt didn’t take long for me to come to grips with the fact that I was now the sole provider for my family and that I had to get back on track.  And I did, some days with more difficulty than others, but I did.  And every time I took a step forward, the following step was usually a bit easier, and so on.  I talked to my children a lot more about how mommy landed a new project with a client, with the intent to reassure them that all was going to be alright.  This not only proved to be helpful for me, but my children seemed happier and felt safer as they saw me take control of the situation.  There were and still are difficult days, and I expect many more to come, but as a family, we are holding each other up while we grieve.

As anybody who has gone through something like this will tell, it is easier if you do not through all this on your own.  Friends, family, my children’s school and even my husband’s school (he was an International Baccalaureate science teacher) played a large role in helping us get through this difficult time.  Their level of support astounded me and still does!

But it wasn’t only them!  My clients were also a great source of support, even a couple which I had just started working for only a short period before the incident.  With all my heart, I thank everybody who stood by us, and I thank my clients for their understanding and patience.  How lucky am I to be working for such a wonderful group of people!

I am happy to say that I am back at work with more energy and enthusiasm than ever.  Several very exciting client projects are already lined up for 2019 and I cannot wait to get started on them!  I’ll also be announcing a new service soon, which will be very exciting!

188652_5087936666_3463_nOf course, 2018 will always remain an unforgettable year for me, but I am not giving up.  In fact, I am more determined than ever to live life to the fullest and to make my dreams come true.  My husband knew that owning my own business was a dream of mine.  He was my number one supporter when it came to my business and he always pushed me to keep going even when managing both a business and a growing family was challenging.  He never stopped believing in me and I can feel him watching down on me, giving me yet another nudge to keep moving.  As such, my goal is to make 2019 the most memorable and successful year for my business yet!  I hope you will be a part of it!

I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a happy new year!


Thank you to my clients in 2018!  You guys rock!   (in alphabetical order)Thank you pink roses

Facebook Page Views Still #1 in Canada

Despite all the glitches and privacy issues that seem to continuously pop up for Facebook, the social media giant still manages to maintain their page view share in Canada.  This week (December 14 2018), they announced another privacy scandal which might affect 6.8 million Facebook users.  The issue is that photos that were considered private, such as photos in Facebook stories, may have leaked out to about 1,500 apps.  Hmmm, what will the following chart look like in a few months from now?  I predict that it will stay the course.  Although this is a big issue, we have not been told yet how many of the affected Facebook users were Canadian.  Since the big dip in page views that occurred after the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, there have been several security breaches for Facebook users over the past few months yet the Canadian statistics for the page viewership on Facebook has remained largely unchanged.

statcounter - social media - Canada - Nov 2016 to Nov2018

CCPE Comes out with a Roar on Facebook

CCPE-CFPCA little while ago, I wrote about what seemed to be a revival of the Council for Continuing Pharmaceutical Education (CCPE), at least when it comes to their online presence.  They had revamped their website and had an ad on Facebook boasting about their updated educational site.

The CCPE used to be so quiet online and on social media, but they seem to be coming out with a roar on Facebook these days!  Way to go CCPE !!!!  Your increased presence on Facebook is definitely noticeable!

It looks like the CCPE has recently (as spotted in December 2018) taken their Facebook presence one step further as they have multiple ads on Facebook targeting people who want a competitive advantage in the pharmaceutical market.  Their positioning and targeted audience are very clear from their ads.  The CCPE clearly wants to be recognized as the educational organization that can help boost one’s career within the pharmaceutical industry, whether one is trying to break into the industry or needs a competitive edge to stand out amongst their peers when it comes to career advancements.  Take a look at the screenshots of their most recent Facebook ads;



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I don’t know if the CCPE is advertising on other social platforms, but I think that Facebook is definitely a good spot to be advertising because those with or those hoping for a pharmaceutical career are like the general population – they are on Facebook.  Despite all of Facebook’s recent chaos and woes, it is still the number 1 social media platform for Canadians as can be seen by its page view share of 55.98% (Statcounter, Canadian social media statistics, November 2016 to November 2018).

statcounter - social media - Canada - Nov 2016 to Nov2018

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Social Media Market Share

Kudos to CCPE for taking this plunge in Facebook advertising.  When we think of reaching out to pharmaceutical professionals, we think of LinkedIn, but I think we often overlook Facebook because it is where Canadians go to the most when it comes to social media.  And even though the targeted audience is probably on Facebook for personal reasons, their professional career hat is not far away, so the ads should be effective in reaching the appropriate audience.  I look forward to seeing if it pays off for CCPE in the future.

Do you think more companies should be reaching out to pharmaceutical employees via Facebook ads?  Let us know in the comments.