Pfizer is crashing an online party for physicians. The drug maker has inked a deal with Sermo, a sort of Facebook for docs who want to gossip about their practices--drug side effects included. Originally intended to be a "no pharma" zone where doctors could be frank about drugs, the site now will allow Pfizer medical staff to listen in on postings and contribute to the conversation, too. The rest of Pfizer's employees would be persona non grata.
Sermo officials said members recently expressed a wish for input from the pharma industry. And Pfizer wants to tap into the online-networking zeal that has made MySpace a cultural touchstone. Though Pfizer is the first drug maker to get into this "in crowd," it won't be the last; Sermo says it's working on similar deals with other companies. But the site still won't let pharma firms advertise.