Visible Technologies Research Reveals Only 0.3% of Pharmaceutical Customers Share Adverse Events in Social Media

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New Study Analyzes the Occurrence of Adverse Event Reporting (AER) in Social Media

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With millions of conversations happening online, most pharmaceutical companies realize the opportunity of social media but are intimidated by the FDA’s Adverse Events Reporting requirements.

Visible Technologies™, the leading provider of social media monitoring, analytics and engagement today released the findings of a new study, which analyzed the occurrence of Adverse Event Reporting (AER) in social media. AER is a federal mandate that requires pharmaceutical companies to report certain adverse changes in health or side effects of their products discussed by users on social media sites. The purpose of the study was to understand how much of the conversation about pharmaceutical brands on social media sites, including forums, blogs and Twitter, meet the requirements of an Adverse Event (AE). The findings showed only 0.3 percent of all posts contained an AE and even fewer met the federal reporting requirements for an AER (e.g. provided contact details). This presents an extremely low risk for pharmaceutical marketers looking to embrace social media initiatives.

“With millions of conversations happening online, most pharmaceutical companies realize the opportunity of social media but are intimidated by the FDA’s Adverse Events Reporting requirements,” said Greg Singh, regional director, Visible Technologies. “These findings prove that AER reporting is far less common than people think, creating a safer harbor for pharmaceutical marketers who want to embrace the many opportunities that social media offers to engage with consumers and build brand loyalty. It also gives them the opportunity to effectively use social media to improve AER, rather than ignore the potential upside of this new medium.”

Key findings:
Visible Technologies tracked 224 pharmaceutical brands, then collected and analyzed more than 257,000 posts across social media sites during a 30-day period.

Some of the key findings include:

  •     0.3 percent of all posts contained an Adverse Event (AE) experience
  •     Only 14 percent of posts that contained an AE had an identifiable name and contact method to enable pharmaceutical marketers to fill out required paperwork
  •     On average, during the 30-day period, each brand received a total of three posts that met the requirements for AER

These results indicate that pharmaceutical marketers who engage in diligent monitoring of social media for mentions of their brands can expect to see some mention of adverse events; however, this is a very low percentage of the overall conversation happening online. It can be used positively to help drug makers more effectively identify potential safety issues with the product earlier in its life-cycle, minimizing the risk for a crisis and more serious patient outcomes. Social media also offers the opportunity to foster customer relationships and establish more personalized healthcare services.

To understand the criteria for AER reporting and to view the full findings of the report, go to

About Visible Technologies
Visible Technologies is the leader in social media monitoring, analytics and engagement solutions, providing the perfect combination of software and services to harness business value from social communities. Visible Intelligence, its next generation platform, delivers big improvements in competitive and brand intelligence, marketing ROI and smarter customer insights through an agile platform that activates brand communities at Internet speed and enterprise scale.

With offices in Seattle, London and New York, Visible ranks as one of the Inc. 500 fastest-growing private companies. Visible has successful relationships with DIRECTV, Microsoft, Xerox, AMEX, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Boost Mobile, Autodesk, Vail Resorts, Burson-Marsteller, Razorfish, Group M, Wunderman Network, Tribal DDB Worldwide, John Lewis and Spring Creek Group. For more information, go to


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Suzi Owens
Blanc & Otus
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