More than half of physicians admit to changing perceptions of a drug due to social media

Social media can have as powerful an influence on physicians as they do on the public, according to a new survey conducted by Sermo and LiveWorld.

Of the 50-plus pharma marketers and 200-plus U.S. physicians surveyed, more than half (57%) of doctors said they frequently or occasionally change their initial perception of a medication due to social media.

The results also revealed social media’s strong influence on prescribing habits, ongoing medical education and professional networking.

On top of that, a whopping 94% of the pharma marketers interviewed said social media is an important HCP channel. So much so that 90% of marketers have social media in the 2023 budget.

Furthermore, of those marketers with social media in the budget, 50% report their social media spend will be up from the previous year, and no one reported a decrease in this budget.

Ninety-two percent of the surveyed pharma marketers agreed with physicians in the vital role that social media play in influencing clinical and treatment decisions.

So where are physicians spending their time on social media? Doctors’ top choices included closed-communities Doximity and Sermo for clinical and professional purposes.

In fact, 41% of doctors reported changing their views on a medication based on content on Sermo and 33% based on content on Doximity. Physicians said they are more trusting and more likely to download information from closed-community groups as opposed to TikTok or Facebook.

However, doctors are using public social media platforms as well. A little more than half are on private group Facebook pages; 35% said they are getting congressional announcements and presentations from LinkedIn; and 62% reported using Twitter to follow hospital and professional updates.

Physicians are also following other doctors and HCP influencers on social platforms. The group follows influencers based on their credentials (27%), their knowledge of a topic (26%) and their relatable content (26%). Seeing the value in influencers, 56% of pharma markers said they would include digital influencers in their 2023 plans.

“Social media is a serious and necessary factor in HCP marketing and promotion. Social media is being widely adopted, budgeted and planned for in 2023. Marketers have faith in its reach, persuasiveness, peer-to-peer credibility and immediacy,” said LiveWorld vice president of HCP strategy and survey author, Danny Flamberg, in a press release.