Fledgling artists and home-video aficionados apparently arent the only ones who see the twinkle of opportunity in YouTubes cyberspace universe. A number of medical products companies are now posting content on the Google-owned, video-sharing Web site in hopes of reaching a more targeted audience through, Outliers might add, a less-regulated medium.
Drugmakers Sanofi-Aventis and AstraZeneca and medical-device companies Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic and Stryker Orthopaedics are among the content providers located through a quick search of the YouTube Web site. The postings include everything from device-implant-surgery videos to medical-expert advice and product testimonies by patients.
In February, for example, Sanofi-Aventis launched the nonbranded channel Go Insulin, which features patients talking about their success controlling diabetes through insulin injections. The company produces the injectable insulin brand Apidra. AstraZeneca has set up a sponsored YouTube channel called My Asthma Story, which features patients testimony about the benefits of the companys asthma drug Symbicort.
The Symbicort-branded YouTube channel is our first opportunity to engage patients in this space, says AstraZeneca spokeswoman Dana Settembrino. It really gives us the opportunity to go where consumers are going for healthcare information.
YouTube posting may also provide medical-product companies with another benefit: a chance to see how far they can push the boundaries before regulatory agencies crack down on marketing through the cyberspace medium. The FDA hasnt carved out specific regulations and guidelines about how pharmaceutical companies can work in this space, so we worked with our legal, regulatory and compliance departments to develop the content, Settembrino says.