GSK’s healthcare blog doesn’t cross the line

If you’re in a regulated industry of some kind – financial services, for instance, or healthcare – how would you use a tool like a public blog as a means to engage with people you want to connect with, and that doesn’t cross any regulatory line?

One company that’s successfully addressing this is pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in the USA with its ‘More Than Medicine’ blog launched in May 2009.


Looking through the blog will give you a good sense of how GSK in the US addresses topical healthcare issues, including engaging with blog visitors via comments to posts. Reading ‘About this blog’ will give you a very good idea of how GSK US sees this medium.

For deeper background and insight into their thinking, listen to this WeissWatch ThoughtLeaders podcast interview I conducted a few days ago with Michael Fleming, head of new and social media communications for GSK US Pharmaceuticals.

Michael talks about the overall goals and objectives he has for the blog, as well as the learnings and experience his company has gained in the nine months since the blog launched. In our conversation, Michael also comments on the FDA hearing into regulated healthcare communication and social media that took place last November and the implications for healthcare communications in the United States (and, potentially, in other countries).

The example of GSK USA makes it clearer to see what’s possible with social media communication in a regulated business environment.

[Disclosure: The WeissWatch ThoughtLeaders podcast is part of the WeissWatch Podcast and a product of WCG, the company where I am Head of Social Media in Europe. We didn’t work with GSK on their blog.]

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. eaon

    Full marks. their UK counterparts should take note.
    I worked with a number of gsk brands on digital marketing bits but never managed to get anything away with even a free comment area because of compliance issues etc.
    It came to the point where we actually resigned the accounts.

  2. Vista Health Solutions

    A much wiser idea is to take a long hard look at the entire health insurance industry and then work to remedy the situation by taking out the waste and creating new, innovative ideas that would be a benefit for all.

    Thank you for sharing this post.

Comments are closed.