Astellas Promotes “C3 Prize: Changing Cancer Care” Challenge on Social Media

What is the Astellas C3 Prize; Changing Cancer Care challenge?

Astellas is holding its 3rd global contest called the C3 Prize; Changing Cancer Care.  Their objective is to provide funding to somebody or to a group with an innovative non-treatment idea intended to improve the lives of cancer patients, caregivers, and their loved ones, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

The winners will receive grants and access to resources to make their life-changing ideas a reality.

This is such a fantastic idea! A win-win for patients and for the innovator!  And yes, Astellas is gaining visibility as a results, and that’s perfectly fine. Many consumer products run similar programs (ie. think pink ribbon for breast cancer), and it’s OK for them to gain awareness as a result as well.

Astellas promotion of C3 Prize Challenge on Facebook:

Astellas is sponsoring Facebook ads to promote their C3 Prize challenge to a long list of countries.  We can tell this now because Facebook recently changed the way that we can view ads of a particular Facebook page.  You can now see which country the ad is being targeted to.  The image below shows only a small fraction of the countries where the Astellas Facebook page is promoting the C3 Prize ads.

Astellas - FB - Changing Cancer Care Prize - FB ad list - world


Here are the C3 Prize ads that one can find on the Astellas Facebook page (confirmed from July 10th to 15th).  There is a mixture of still images and videos, and all have the button “Apply now”;


Unfortunately, these sponsored Facebook posts have not done as well as most of the other posts by Astellas from May 14 to July 14 2018, in terms of engagement (Source: Social Insider).  This was probably expected though for the following reason.  Astellas posts a lot of interesting information on their Facebook page.  Their posts which are targeted to a larger, mainstream audience get more shares and more likes.  It is difficult for posts, such as the C3 Prize challenge, which are targeted to a much narrower audience, to compete with the mainstream posts.  With the C3 Prize challenge posts, Astellas is reaching out to a very narrow group of healthcare entrepreneurs  who are looking to get their innovative cancer care idea off the ground.  There are only a handful of those people around on Facebook.

Astellas promotion of C3 Prize Challenge on LinkedIn:

Despite the challenge in reaching entrepreneurs on Facebook, there is no shortage of business-minded, motivated entrepreneurs on LinkedIn.  As such, it is not surprising to see that the Astellas C3 Prize challenge posts on Linked are resulting in substantial engagement.


Astellas promotion of C3 Prize Challenge on Twitter:

Several months ago, Twitter announced that we would be able to access a hub of some kind to find ads by particular accounts, but that has not happened yet.  As such, I am unable to tell whether Astellas is sponsoring advertisements on Twitter or not.  However, there are quite a few posts using the #C3Prize hashtag.  Here are a couple of examples below.

Astellas - FB - Changing Cancer Care Prize - tweets


Astellas #C3Prize Twitter chat statistics:

Astellas held a Twitter chat on July 12th, at 2pm E.S.T.  This is a great way to create a live conversation between stakeholders to create more awareness and generate buzz around a particular hashtag.

Astellas cleverly created an image to attach to some of its first Twitter post during the Twitter chat itself, as it outlined the process and guidelines of the chat.  They made certain that chat participants would know that their ideas were not going to be evaluated during the chat and that anybody seeking information about medical treatments should discuss with their physician.

Astellas - Changing Cancer Care - Twitter chat


Here are some data a little over 24 hours AFTER the Twitter chat:

Data from Keyhole:

As would be expected, there was a large increase in the usage of the #C3Prize hashtag during the Twitter chat, and the usage of the hashtag almost immediately went back to base level afterwards.

Astellas - Changing Cancer Care - Twitter chat - analysis - posts - Keyhole

The majority of the hashtag users were male both before and after the Twitter chat.

Astellas - Changing Cancer Care - Twitter chat - analysis - demographics - Keyhole

Almost half of the tweets posted with the #C3Prize hashtag were initiated on desktop, with the rest on some kind of mobile app.  This means that Astellas needs to prepare digital content that will be well viewed on both desktop and mobile devices.

Astellas - Changing Cancer Care - Twitter chat - analysis - platform - Keyhole

Approximately 2/3 of the posts with the #C3Prize hashtag were retweets of other posts that contained the hashtag.  Almost 1/3 of the posts were original posts.  Original posts during a Twitter chat are key because these are the ones that will generate replies and retweets.

Astellas - Changing Cancer Care - Twitter chat - analysis - post type - Keyhole

More than half of the tweets with the #C3Prize hashtag were positive in nature, and only around 10% were negative.  The overall sentiment score is calculated based on positive ad negative data.  One must be careful when looking at the negative data because it only takes one negative word in a tweet to label that tweet negative.  For example, one tweet during the chat had the word “unhealthy”, but the content of the tweet was not negative at all.  It was part of the discussion which was about cancer in less fortunate areas.  Nonetheless, it is quite possible that the Keyhole algorithm just read that one word and then labeled it as a negative tweet as a result.

Astellas - Changing Cancer Care - Twitter chat - analysis - sentiment score - Keyhole


Here is some complimentary data about the Twitter chat from Socialert:

The majority of the tweets with the #C3Prize hashtag came from the US with a few countries, including Canada, showing up as secondary users.

Astellas - Changing Cancer Care - Twitter chat - analysis - geography - Socialert

The profile keywords give you an idea of the type of people who used the #C3Prize hashtag, as these are words that appear in the participants’ Twitter profile.  Seeing the words “cancer”, “health”, “care” and “palliative” indicate that many of the participants describe themselves or their job with these words, therefore are vested in healthcare and may be  influencers.

Astellas - Changing Cancer Care - Twitter chat - analysis - profile keywords - Socialert

The top 3 hashtags used during and slightly after the Astellas #C3Prize Twitter chat were #C3Prize (naturally!!), #CancerCare and #Cancer.

Astellas - Changing Cancer Care - Twitter chat - analysis - top hashtags - Socialert

The hashtag #CancerCare was also used by Astellas in their tweets about the C3 Prize.  The #CancerCare hashtag appears to be more commonly used.  Astellas must be pleased that their company name was one of the most prominent keywords in tweets containing the hashtag #CancerCare over the past 10 days (source Keyhole, July 4 to July 14 2018).

Astellas - Changing Cancer Care - Twitter chat - analysis - top key words - Socialert

Based on this review, it seems as though the #C3Prize Twitter chat was fairly successful.  Although the hashtag didn’t trend, one has to remember that this was not meant to be a mainstream Twitter chat.  This was a Twitter chat targeted to a handful of people who are entrepreneurs in the healthcare field, and who are searching for funding to make their innovative idea come to fruition.

We can learn from Astellas about using social media to promote a challenge:

  • Your target audience for the challenge will determine your success on various social media platforms.  Entrepreneurs can be found more easily on LinkedIn compared to Facebook and Twitter.
  • A Twitter chat which includes a few influential participants can generate a fair amount of noise during a peak period.
  • Setting up clear Twitter chat guidelines and promoting them ahead of the chat can reduce confusion.
  • Combining your customized hashtag with an associated, more commonly used hashtag to generate greater awareness to a larger audience.

Good luck to all the #C3Prize participants and best wishes to Astellas in choosing their winners amongst all the innovative ideas that they will certainly receive.


44 Pharma Facebook Covers; Global and Canada

At the bottom of this post, you will find screenshots of 44 page Facebook covers from either global pharmaceutical organizations or pharma companies in Canada.  The screenshots were taken in June 2018, and a few of them have already been updated as of early July 2018.  The pharmaceutical Facebook covers are in alphabetical order of the pharma company’s name.

Pharmaceutical companies on Facebook

Pharma companies are increasingly communicating and sharing on social media, including Facebook.  Although there are some Canadian pharmaceutical subsidiaries that manage their own social media profiles, the majority still rely on their global headquarters to do the communications.

Most of the pharmaceutical Facebook pages that I have seen focus either on non-branded corporate activities, careers within the organization, news about their research or events that are hosted by either themselves or a related medical association.

Pharmaceutical Facebook Page Covers

Pharmaceutical companies on Facebook have the opportunity to visually highlight their page’s objective with their Facebook cover image, slide show or video.  They can also change their Facebook cover page image anytime.

The majority of the pharmaceutical Facebook covers that I found consist of still images, with a couple showcasing videos, a .gif file, or a slideshow. Their call-to-action buttons vary from ‘Learn more’, ‘Watch video’, ‘Contact us’, ‘Call us’, to ‘Sign up’.

Many of these pharma Facebook page covers depict happy people while others show happy or serious scientific researchers. They are well done and pleasing to the eye, but they really don’t differentiate themselves from one another.

Pharmaceutical Facebook Page Covers That Stand Out 

A few of the covers are innovative and self-explanatory such as the Allergan eye image, the Abbvie ‘gives back’ images,  and the Novo Nordisk‘s compilation of old photos including that of an old insulin bottle to celebrate their 95th year in diabetes research.  The cover by Pfizer global is a video which captures one’s attention as it presents its employees as regular people with personal lives and then show them dedicated to a common goal as Pfizer colleagues.

Most of the pharma Facebook covers don’t have any messages on them, but a few highlight their specialty, making it absolutely clear what they are all about, in particular the Leo Pharma, Novartis Cancer and Novo Nordisk covers.

Take a look and let us know what you think.



The 1st image of the Abbott Facebook page cover was taken in June 2018 whereas the 2nd image was taken in early July 2018. An image of the July 2018 Abbott Facebook page cover taken from a mobile device is also included to show you how the covers look differently depending on the platform that the visitor is using.

FB cover - Abbott

FB cover - Abbott - 2017 07


Below is what the Abbott Facebook page cover looks like on a mobile device.  Notice that the image size on mobile is not in the same ratio as it is on desktop.  You tend to lose a bit of the left side of the image on mobile, so whenever possible, give more weight to the right side of your image and leave a little space on the left so that you don’t lose part of your image or text as Abbott did on mobile.



Abbvie Careers:

The 1st image of the Abbvie Careers Facebook page cover was taken in June 2018 whereas the 2nd image was taken in early July 2018.

FB cover - Abbvie careers

FB cover - Abbvie Careers - 2017 07


Abbvie Global:

The 1st image of the Abbvie Global Facebook page cover was taken in June 2018 whereas the 2nd image was taken in early July 2018.

FB cover - Abbvie

FB cover - Abbvie - 2017 07.png



FB cover - Alcon



FB cover - Allergan



This is an interesting situation.  The Apotex Facebook page was created on June 16, 2015.  Posts were published on this page until July 2, 2015.  Usually, I would assume that the page was started by a person or group that wants to discuss Apotex or its brand. This happens all the time and it is usually by people who are quite passionate about their stance on the company or brand, either positive or negative. However, if you look at some of the posts on the Apotex Facebook page, they appear to come from either the corporation itself or a representing agency.  Consumers do not typically write posts in this manner.

Obviously, the page has been abandoned. If Apotex did have anything to do with this page, they may want to consider making it invisible to the public or deleting it completely.

FB cover - Apotex - now defunct page - looks official



FB cover - Astellas


Bausch & Lomb (changed from Bausch & Lomb Canada in 2015):





FB cover - Bayer



FB cover - Biogen


Bristol-Myers Squibb:

FB cover - BMS



FB cover - Celgee


Eli Lilly:

FB cover - Eli Lilly



FB cover - Genentech


Gilead Sciences:

FB cover - Gilead Sciences



The 1st image of the GSK Facebook page cover was taken in June 2018 whereas the video below it was taken in early July 2018.

FB cover - GSK



FB cover - Ipsen


Johnson & Johnson Careers:

FB cover - J&J careers


Johnson & Johnson:

The Johnson & Johnson Facebook cover page is actually a .gif file where all you can see moving is the baby rattle.  The rest of the image remains still.

FB cover - J&J


Leo Pharma Canada:

FB cover - Leo Pharma Canada


Leo Pharma:

By including a clear and simple message on their Facebook cover page, Leo Pharma lets their visitors know exactly what their company is all about.  As far as I can tell, this is well within Canadian direct-to-consumer advertising regulations as well since none of the posts that I reviewed include information about a specific product.  Remember that in Canada, we can only promote product name, price and quantity to consumers.  Combining a product name with an indication goes against the guidelines.  The posts on Leo Pharma’s Facebook page focus on corporate activities and partnerships with investors.  Well done, Leo Pharma!

FB cover - Leo Pharma


Merck Careers:

FB cover - Merck careers


Merck for Mothers:

FB cover - Merck for Mothers



FB cover - Merck


Novartis Cancer:

FB cover - Novartis Cancer



FB cover - Novartis


Novo Nordisk Canada:

FB cover - Novo Nordisk Canada - no posts just ads


Novo Nordisk:

FB cover - Novo Nordisk


Pfizer Canada:

FB cover - Pfizer Canada



The Pfizer Facebook page cover is worth watching.  The message is clear that all of their employees are different, have their own unique personal lives, but when they go to work, they are all dedicated to one common goal.  Their ads (targeted to the U.S. audience) support this message as well.





FB cover - Pharmascience - Cdn page



FB cover - Regeneron


Roche Careers:

The image and message on the Roche Careers Facebook page cover are well crafted to attract potential team players.

FB cover - Roche careers


Sandoz Global, A Novartis Division:

FB cover - Sandoz - 2017 07



FB cover - Sanofi France - no posts


Sanofi US:

FB cover - Sanofi US


Sanofi Genzyme:

FB cover - Sanofi Genzyme - 2017 07


Sanofi Pasteur Centenary:

There are not many posts on this page, but the concept of celebrating their centenary on Facebook is fun.

FB cover - Sanofi Pasteur Centenary.png



FB cover - Solvay



FB cover - Takeda Oncology


I plan on updating this blog post from time to time.  Are there other Facebook page covers that you would like to see added to this list?

Social Media Page View Shares; Canada Compared to U.S. and Global

Here are the page view shares per key social media site for June 2018 for Canada, United States and global, comparing all platforms (mobile + desktop + tablet) vs. just mobile.

Statcounter - June 2018 page view shares - Canada US Global

Social media page view shares, June 2018.  Source: StatCounter

If you are more of the visual type, the following chart might be more helpful for you.  Note that due to lack of space, I did not include all the labels in the chart below.

Statcounter - June 2018 page view shares - Canada US Global - view 2

Source: Statcounter

It appears to be safe to say that the drop in page view share for Facebook is levelling off in Canada.  The drop in Facebook page view shares is still on a slight decline in the United States, but it appears as though it will level off very soon.  As for global, it is still on a moderate decline.  Note that the world as a whole did not experience the sharp decline that both Canada and the United States suffered right after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Below, you can see the progression of social media page view shares for Canada from July 2017 to June 2018.  The first chart consists of all platforms (desktop, mobile, tablets) whereas the second chart looks at only mobile data.

Despite the huge drop in Facebook page view share, it is still a giant compared to all other social networks.  Now is not the time to stop considering Facebook as a potential medium for reaching your clients, especially if you are targeting consumers or patients.  Healthcare physicians are humans, so yes, they are also hanging out on Facebook, but there might be more efficient options to reach this audience.

The growth of Pinterest page view share seems to be levelling off as well.


StatCounter-social_media-CA-monthly-201707-201806StatCounter-social_media-CA-monthly-201707-201806 (1)


Instagram, Twitter and YouTube page view shares are all on the upswing, but since they are still relatively small players, especially when compared to Facebook and Pinterest, it is difficult to see their progress without reducing the range of the chart.  The charts below look only at Instagram, Twitter and YouTube page view shares in Canada, from July 2017 to June 2018, on all platforms and then on mobile.  Many of the clients that I speak to are surprised to see that Instagram is still a relatively small player based on this statistics, but keep in mind that page view share does not measure how often a person visits a site or how their qualitative opinion of the site.  Instagram is a player to keep an eye on, especially if you are targeting young adults.

Page view share graph - smaller networks - Canada - all platforms

Source: StatCounter


Page view share graph - smaller networks - Canada - mobile

Source: StatCounter


Below are the graphs showing the progression of social media page view shares for the United States from July 2017 to June 2018.  The pattern is similar to that of the Canadian charts, except that the drop in Facebook page view shares does not seem to have stopped quite yet.



StatCounter-social_media-US-monthly-201707-201806StatCounter-social_media-US-monthly-201707-201806 (1)


Below are the worldwide social media page view shares from July 2017 to June 2018, all platforms (1st chart) as well as only mobile (2nd chart).



StatCounter-social_media-ww-monthly-201707-201806 (1)



Data source:  Statcounter

EpiPen Canada Facebook Page Advertises What? (Update – Issue has been fixed)

Update June 27 2018, 12:23 pm:  Pfizer Canada sent me an email to inform me that they have read my blog post and addressed the issue immediately.  They have removed the ads from the EpiPen Canada Facebook page.  I personally thank Pfizer Canada for taking my recommendation seriously and congratulate them for taking such speedy action.


One of my children needs to carry an EpiPen Junior all the time, so naturally, I follow the EpiPen Canada Facebook page.  I have always been impressed with the quality of their posts .

Despite my personal interest in the brand, I am a marketer at heart and I like checking out the ads on certain Facebook pages.  But this time, I came across an unusual situation.

Under the “Ads” tab of the EpiPen Canada Facebook page were ads for rheumatoid arthritis options and Pristiq, a prescription drug indicated for  the symptomatic relief of major depressive disorder.  For those who aren’t familiar with EpiPen, it is an epinephrine autoinjector for serious allergies.  There is no obvious relation between the EpiPen Facebook page or the two ads.

Imagine the confusion that people who see these ads on their Facebook timeline when they see that the ads come from the EpiPen Canada Facebook page yet are completely unrelated.

Epipen FB ad - RA


Epipen FB ad - Pristiq 1


Epipen FB ad - Pristiq 2

With such a strong focus on transparency when it comes to advertising, it seems odd to see the EpiPen Canada Facebook page advertise for other brands which belong to its parent company, Pfizer.

Where should these ads appear on Facebook?

Pfizer Canada, the distributor of EpiPen in Canada, has an active Facebook page.  It would have been more appropriate to run these advertisements from the Pfizer Canada Facebook page.  At the time when I saw the ads on the EpiPen Canada Facebook page, the Pfizer Canada Facebook page did not have any ads listed.

Pfizer Canada Facebook page


Why would EpiPen promote Rheumatoid Arthritis options and Pristiq?

Rationale 1:  Skirting regulatory guidelines?

Initially, I thought perhaps the company was trying to separate its ads from other related ads which may have been perceived as going against the direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisement regulations by Health Canada.  For example, in Canada, pharmaceutical DTC can ONLY refer to a product’s name, price and quantity.  The moment you mention a disease as part of the ad, any mention of the product  name must be removed.  It’s one or the other, never both.

If a particular Facebook page were to advertise about a disease state in one ad, and at the same time advertise about the related product, that would probably get the company in trouble.  But this was NOT the case, since Pfizer Canada had no ads listed at all.  Phewfff!

Rationale 2: Human error?

Another rationale for this mix-and-match of ads on a Facebook page is that somebody probably just made a mistake, either by not realizing that the ads should have been on the Pfizer Canada Facebook page, or simply did not realize that they were placing the ads on the EpiPen Canada Facebook page

This would be particularly plausible if the agency handling the brands’ online and social advertising managed both the corporate social media as well as the social media for EpiPen.  But frankly, it seems to me that this could inadvertently happen for one ad, but for two?  Hmmm … probably not.


Rational 3: Corporate politics?

Pfizer is a very large company. Perhaps there was a lot of red tape to go through to get approval to place these ads under the overarching Pfizer Canada Facebook page so a decision was made to get the ads out quickly and to just go piggy-back off the EpiPen Facebook page. As marketers in any industry, we all need to be a bit creative sometimes.

Who knows why this happened. Perhaps I my guesses didn’t even come close.  Whatever the reason, I honestly do not believe that any ill intentions were involved.  Nonetheless, those ads should not remain under the EpiPen umbrella.

What should be done about these unrelated Facebook ads?

Although it is not the end of the world, having one brand advertise for a totally unrelated brand or disease state looks unprofessional.  It may also be perceived as unethical because it lacks transparency and it could be confusing to patients who see the ads on their Facebook timeline.

Just my two cents, but Pfizer Canada may want to consider deleting the unrelated ads from the EpiPen Canada Facebook page and reinstating them under the Pfizer Canada Facebook page, or creating separate, new Facebook pages that are specific for the individual ads.

What other interesting Facebook advertising scenarios have you come across?










Accu-Chek Facebook Ad for National Indigenous Peoples Day

Hats off to Accu-Check for observing National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21) as part of their Facebook ad strategy.

Accu-Chek is currently running Facebook ads, one in English and one in French, to raise awareness of the fact that there is a higher prevalence rate of diabetes among Canada’s First Nations peoples.  Although I do not have access to the targeting specs for the ads, based on the types of comments the ad is receiving, it appears as though the general Canadian public has been seeing the ads on their timeline.

I respect Accu-Chek for sponsoring this Facebook ad. We need to see more ads like this, which may help communities within Canada who might need a little extra hand.

Something that would have been appreciated by the First Nations peoples would have been an ad in one of their more popular dialects. Something for Accu-Check to consider next time.

Accucheck - FB ad - indigenous day FR

Accucheck - FB ad - indigenous day

Facebook Drop in Page View Share in Canada is Starting to Level Off

The following data was sources from Statcounter.

Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook page view share of the all social media platforms took a nose dive both globally and in Canada.  Pinterest was the clear winner of increased page view share (both globally and in Canada), but let’s keep in mind that page view share is just a percentage of the total.  This does not mean that Pinterest took all the page views that Facebook lost.  Pinterest may have gained page views, but I don’t have those figures.  So this is like taking a look at the proportion of the piece of the pie, unfortunately without knowing how big, or small, the pie has become.

As you can see by the right side of the Facebook and Pinterest lines, both are leveling off.  The biggest hit has taken place and the dust is settling, assuming no other major issue hits Facebook in the weeks or months to come.


Consumers are still largely on Facebook, so if you manage a consumer brand, it’s not time to drop off Facebook just yet.  Sure, you probably have to do more advertising than before to get your posts and page noticed, but the reach on Facebook is paralleled by no other social platform as of yet.

We hear a lot about Instagram.  It is growing and sure it is growing at a rapid rate, but it is still a small player when compared to the other major social networks.  This is comparing quantity, page view shares.  It does not take  into effect quality of the and devotion of the users.

Instagram page vew share - Stat Counter

Although Mark Zuckerberg has been traveling globally to some pretty intense meetings as the target of a bombardment of questions regarding privacy, we still cannot feel too sad for him.  Facebook shares are at their highest ever!

FB share history May 2017 to May 2018



World No Tobacco Day Instagram Stories by Pfizer and Canadian Cancer Society

Pfizer and the Canadian Cancer Society each posted an Instagram story to promote World No Tobacco Day.  Pfizer took advantage of the poll feature within Instagram stories in order to engage its audience, whereas the Canadian Cancer Society used the ‘swipe’ feature to direct its viewers to their website.

There were probably other organizations that posted similar information on World No Tobacco Day, but it is so easy for me to find the ones that are posted as stories, whereas I would have had to search through my timeline to find others.

Hint, hint!  I’m telling you this for a reason; if you or your organization are on Instagram, you should be using the Instagram stories feature in order to be more readily accessible by your followers.  If your followers have to search for your information, they probably won’t bother unless it is very important to them.  Also, if you are really low on your followers’ timeline, they might not scroll all the way down until they get to your post.  Make yourself more readily seen and take advantage of the Instagram stories!

The Instagram stories for both Pfizer and the Canadian Cancer Society, which promoted World No Tobacco Day can be viewed as videos below.

Sanofi Aptly Responds to Roseanne Barr ‘Ambien Tweeting’ Comment

Roseanne Barr made some racist remarks on Twitter and had her show cancelled as a result.  Her excuse; “Ambien tweeting”.

Roseanne Barr - Ambien tweeting

Although her tweets have been deleted from her Twitter account, they live on the web forever.

With these two tweets, Roseanne Barr has created a cloud of doubt about a prescription drug that many take to help them sleep faster and longer.  By blaming a medication for her poor behaviour, she is trying to turn this into a ‘big bad pharma’ issue to benefit her public perception.

Everybody knows that Roseanne is not a physician or a pharmacist, but as a public figure, many will hear her comments and trust her, regardless of her lack of expertise in the matter or inaccuracy of her statements.

I applaud Sanofi US for their quick, clever and confident response on Twitter;

Roseanne Barr - Ambien tweeting - Sanofi response

Their response was courteous yet to-the-point.  Racism is not a side effect of a Sanofi medication.  End of discussion!

Pharma is so often made to feel like an evil machine, that this industry often just stays quiet in the face of unfair criticism, for fear of being criticized even more for not just rolling over and accepting the original criticism.  I’m so glad that Sanofi US spoke up and let its voice be heard.

Now I’m sure that I will be criticized for standing up for Sanofi US. Take a look at the list of adverse effects collected by  This list was created from a staggering 1,158 clinical trials.  That’s not peanuts!  Having such a huge number of clinical trials to back up a list of side effects means that the list will be that much more complete and accurate. lists the Ambien adverse effects as follows, in order of most frequent to least frequent, as collected from 1,158 clinical trials;

  • drowsiness, headache, dizziness, allergic reactions, sinus infection, dry mouth, back pain, lack of energy, drugged feeling, diarrhea, sore throat, flu-like symptoms, racing heart, lightheadedness, depression, abdominal pain, constipation, rash.

There is not one mention of racism or other lewd behaviour listed as a side effect.

To blame a medication for being a racist, and shoving that particular pharma company under the bus …. come on, Roseanne!  That’s not fair and it’s not accurate, and you know it!



Stop Thinking that you Would Never Forget your Child in your Car

never_leave_child_in_hot_carThis is an odd topic for this blog because I always post about healthcare and pharma marketing, trying to inspire creativity and innovation from other marketers.

Today I am making an exception, just this once.  As a mother of four young children, I feel compelled to write about this on my blog.

Last week, a 3-year old was found in a hot vehicle in Hamilton, Ontario.  He died of what appears to be signs related to being left in a hot vehicle.  This week, a 6-year old boy was found dripping in sweat in a hot car after a friend of the parent left the child to go shopping for a bit.  Apparently the child did not want to go shopping so he was left in the car with the doors locked and the windows closed tight.  Luckily, that child was found and saved by a couple walking by. We hear way too many cases like this. It is devastating.

As mentioned, I have four kids. The age span between the youngest and the oldest is 6 years, none of them are twins, so they were all born very close in age.  Just imagine, I was basically dealing with 2 or 3 babies at a time for a while.  It was chaos.  I was forgetting a lot of things, things that I would never forget normally.  I feared that one day, I would end up forgetting my keys in the ignition, lock the door and shut it before taking my kids out of their seats.  This was so worrisome to me that I started wearing my spare car key around my neck every day. I never needed to use it, but it helped keep me on my toes.  My 3 older kids are able to unbuckle themselves and get out of the car on their own now, but I still wear that key around my neck every day I bring them somewhere with me.  I was NOT being paranoid.  I was admitting to myself that I was capable of making errors, and I was preparing myself in case a bad scenario came up.

My point in telling you this story is that as parents and caregivers, we have to stop saying to ourselves that something bad, like forgetting our child in a hot car, will never happen to us.  It can and unfortunately does happen to some.  You are better off to take extra precautions and protect those wee ones.

We live in the era of technology! Take the time to use the technology that is on your smartphone to help protect your child.  You might feel like it’s silly and useless, and it might never be an issue for you, but why not take the extra precaution.  The effort to set this up is next to nothing and the peace of mind that will come with it will be enormous.

Here are some high-tech and also plain and simple ideas for you or anybody else that drives your children around, especially if it is out of the adult’s routine;

– Put your wallet and cell phone next to your kid’s seat

– Use Waze as a child reminder (yes, it has that feature!)

– Set up an alarm on your cell

Baby Reminder Widget app

My Precious Cargo app

A sensor for your child’s carseat


Thinking that an idea is a good is not the same as actually implementing it!  Take action now. Set something up that works for you right or anybody else that drives your children around.

If you know of a healthcare or pharmaceutical company that implements a campaign to help remind parents to take their child out of the car, let me know as it might be worth featuring on my blog.  Thank you in advance!

Novo Nordisk Privacy Policy Update and Community Guidelines Update

Warning – this is a long blog post because it needed an intro explaining the recent GDPR changes and the new Canadian privacy guidance documents.  If you are here because you are only interested in reading about the Novo Nordisk privacy policy update and community guidelines update, then feel free to skip about the first half of this blog post. 


If your inbox looks anything like mine, you have received quite a few notifications over the past few weeks about companies who have updated their guidelines to improve your privacy.  These updates are in response to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), the European Union’s new data privacy law which came into effect as of May 5 2018.

Companies that collect, store or analyze information on EU residents must now be more transparent about the data they have and who they share it with.

If an EU resident asks a company to delete his or her data, to send a copy of his or her data, or agrees for a company to collect his or her data but not use it in specific circumstances, the company must comply.

If the GDPR is specific for EU residents, why are companies based in other countries required to comply as well?  

If a company, or online service regardless of where it is located, has any data on an EU resident, they must comply.  Basically, the GDPR has become a global standard.  This is actually good news for non-EU residents as they now share the same rights as EU residents, except that they have no legal right to complain if any issue related to this topic arises.

Canada Privacy Guidance Online

On May 24th, the day before the GDPR became applicable, the Canadian Privacy Commissioner issued 2 new Canadian privacy guidance documents to steer webpage owners in the right direction when it comes to content challenges on the internet.  Here is a summary of the 2 Canadian privacy guidance documents.  The information is copied directly from the documents because I did not want to use incorrect wording that would change the meaning of the guidance principles, but please keep in mind that I have only included excerpts that I deemed most important.  If you are a Canadian webpage owner that collects information on its viewers, then I strongly advise that you read both Canadian privacy guidance documents in their entirety. 

The first guidance document focuses on meaningful consent and sets out 7 guiding principles.

  1. Emphasizing certain key elements in privacy information and explaining them in a user friendly way

2. Allow individuals to control the level of detail they get and when

  • Information must be provided to individuals in manageable and easily-accessible ways (potentially including layers) and individuals should be able to control how much more detail they wish to obtain, and when.

3. Providing people with clear options to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’

4. Be innovative and creative

  • Organizations should design and/or adopt innovative consent processes that can be implemented just-in-time, are specific to the context, and are appropriate to the type of interface used.

5. Consider the consumers’ perspective

    • Consent is only valid where the individual can understand that to which they are consenting.

6. Make consent a dynamic and ongoing process

    • Informed consent is an ongoing process that changes as circumstances change; organizations should not rely on a static moment in time but rather treat consent as a dynamic and interactive process.
    • Organizations should also consider periodically reminding individuals about their privacy options and inviting them to review these.
    • Organizations should periodically audit their information management practices to ensure that personal information continues to be handled in the way described to individuals.

7. Being accountable and standing ready to demonstrate compliance

  • Organizations, when asked, should be in a position to demonstrate compliance, and in particular that the consent process they have implemented is sufficiently understandable from the general perspective of their target audience(s) as to allow for valid and meaningful consent.
  • Pointing to a line buried in a privacy policy will not suffice.

The second guidance document clearly identifies ‘no-go zones’.

The “no-go zones” are:

  • Collection, use or disclosure that is otherwise unlawful.
  • Profiling or categorization that leads to unfair, unethical or discriminatory treatment contrary to human rights law.
  • Collection, use or disclosure for purposes that are known or likely to cause significant harm to the individual.
  • Publishing personal information with the intended purpose of charging individuals for its removal.
  • Requiring passwords to social media accounts for the purpose of employee screening
  • Surveillance by an organization through audio or video functionality of the individual’s own device.


Novo Nordisk Privacy Policy Update and Community Guidelines Update

Pharma companies sometimes hold very personal information that could allow for a person’s identity and perhaps even associate that person with various health issues.  Since the social media profiles and blogs by pharmaceutical companies are often managed by the global office yet reach website users from around the world, it makes sense that the majority of the pharmaceutical companies probably updated their privacy policies to better reflect the requirements of the GDPR as well because they certainly get visitors to their sites from various European countries (amongst many other countries).

Novo Nordisk made a privacy policy update as well as a community guidelines update and promoted this change via LinkedIn and Facebook.  As I did not have a copy of their original privacy policy, I was not able to compare the old and the new side-by-side, but I did ask Novo Nordisk, via their Facebook post about their privacy policy update, to comment on what changes they made, and here is the feedback that they have provided as a response to my Facebook comment.

“We have changed the disclaimer so it reflects our updated data privacy policy.”

OK, so this response wasn’t earth shattering, but hey, they took the time to respond back and their response is definitely accurate and to the point.

Here is a screenshot of the Novo Nordisk privacy policy update post on LinkedIn.  Personally, I found the imagery spoke volumes and was very well chosen:

Novo Nordisk -privacy - LinkedIn


And here is the link to the Novo Nordisk privacy policy update in its entirety.  I have copied a few excerpts of their policy below;

Privacy disclaimer and community guidelines for Novo Nordisk’s social media accounts

We welcome and encourage your participation and engagement. When you engage with us on social media, you also agree to follow our disclaimer and community guidelines that explain how we use data and the restrictions of our social media pages.

Thank you for your understanding and for ensuring that your comments fit within these guidelines. While we reserve the right to remove any posting at its sole discretion, we are working to foster openness and dialogue and will therefore only remove comments that violate these guidelines.


Privacy disclaimer
1. The information we collect

We collect information for statistically purposes that can help us improve our communication. When you follow us on social media or engage in our content (via likes, shares, comments etc.) we automatically collect this information and use it to inform us if our content is relevant, where our visitors come from, what they look for and act on, and where the most time is spent. The information we gather about impressions and engagement does not include any personally identifiable information.
2. Collection of sensitive data

We do not collect or retain sensitive personal data relating to your health, ethnic origin, religious beliefs or political conviction etc. on social media. In the rare case where we do seek to collect other sensitive data we will do so in strict compliance with local data privacy law.


6. Information provided ”as is”

The information on our social media sites is provided “as is” and we make no representations or warranties, expressed or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose or noninfringement.

We make no representations or warranties of any kind as to the completeness, accuracy, timeliness, availability, functionality and compliance with applicable laws.

By following our accounts you accept the risk that the information may be incomplete or inaccurate or may not meet your needs or requirements.


Community guidelines
1. Product mentions and medical advice

Due to the nature of our industry, we cannot talk about certain topics with you online. If that is the case, we will let you know and provide others means in which to connect.
Our social media accounts are not intended for discussions about products made by Novo Nordisk A/S including the reporting of side effects associated with the use of prescription drugs.

Any questions or comments specific to products should be made to your healthcare professional.

Social media is not a place for us to provide healthcare advice. If you have questions about your health or the medicine you take, your doctor or health care provider is the person to ask. If you have issues with our medicines (an adverse event), or if you have a product inquiry or complaint, please contact Novo Nordisk’s office in the country you live.

For other comments or feedback please contact us via content (messages) on our accounts that is managed by colleagues in Novo Nordisk in Denmark, on behalf of our colleagues across the organisation.

2. Tone of voice

We welcome comments and questions and try to join the conversation whenever possible. However, we may remove any comments that: (1) are off-topic; (2) are inappropriate, vulgar or abusive; (3) are intended to spam; (4) reference a product; (5) solicit or offer medical advice; or (6) otherwise violates our community guidelines.

3. Information purposes

The content posted on our accounts is presented solely for informational purposes. The accounts do not provide you with advice or recommendation of any kind and should not be relied on as the basis for any decision or action. You are advised to consult professional advisors in the appropriate field with respect to the applicability of any particular aspect of the contents. In particular, nothing being posted constitutes an invitation or offer to invest or deal in Novo Nordisk securities.

Further, our accounts provide selected information of diseases and their treatment. Such information is not intended as medical advice and cannot substitute for the advice of a health care professional. If you have or suspect having any health problems, you should consult your general practitioner or other qualified health provider.


5. Replies, comments and direct messages

We welcome feedback and ideas from all our followers, and encourage you to join the conversation where possible. We will read all replies, comments and messages and ensure that any emerging themes or helpful suggestions are passed to the relevant people in our organisation.

Thanks for reading and for connecting with us.


***  Leave me a comment below to let me know if this information was helpful and if you like seeing examples of privacy policies and community guidelines by pharma and healthcare organizations.