Centocor -- a J&J company that was the first to produce a feature length disease awareness documentary ("Innerstate") -- has just launched a new corporate blog that may break new ground in pharmaceutical company blogging. It's called "CNTO411".
The brains and bloggers behind CNTO411 are Melissa Katz, Senior Director of Corporate Communications at Centocor and her boss, Michael Parks, Vice President of Corporate Communications.
Here's an excerpt from the Inaugural Blog Posting:
“Why Centocor?” and “Why now?” Many of you may read John Mack’s blog, Pharma Marketing Blog. Almost a year ago, he blogged about the first of its kind patient education documentary film we made called Innerstate ( “No Oscar for Centocor PR Effort” [Feb. 26] and “The Innerstate DVD. Is TV Next?” [May 21]). Michael Parks, our VP of Communications who also produced the film, broke the traditional news comment mold and used the blog forum to respond to the comment and correct some inaccuracies by putting forth Centocor’s perspective and facts. In addition, he treated this blogger as we did every other journalist and let him screen the film. These small acts may appear to the casual observer to be incidental transactions, but for us, it was a big deal. Why? Because by engaging in a dialogue with John Mack in real time, he was able to immediately correct mis-information, provide the facts, and thus, give John a reason to restate his perspective.I am flattered to be mentioned in this first post to CNTO411 and to be an inspiration for its launch. You can read more about my relationship to Michael, Melissa, and Innerstate on Pharma Marketing Blog (see "CNTO411: Centocor's Groundbreaking Blog").
How could he do that? Is that allowed? Should we be doing that? And what will the backlash be? Nobody knew. But that’s what pioneers do: they forge a path through the wilderness and hope they aren’t going to fall over a cliff.
Of course, Melissa and Michael owe a lot to Marc Monseau who started up the J&J corporate blog, JNJ BTW, in June 2007 (see "'Round the Sphere: Pharmaco Blogs and Carlat's Crusade").
I will be interviewing Melissa in a Pharma Marketing Talk podcast on Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 2 PM. To learn more about this and get instructions for listening in and participating in this podcast, please click here.
Michael and Melissa promise to comment on Centocor product-specific news or issues on CNTO411, which would make it the first pharmaceutical blog to do so for prescription drugs, which are heavily regulated. How they plan to do this without "falling over a cliff" remains to be seen (REMICADE is mentioned in the inaugural posting). I hope Melissa will share some insights on that in my upcoming podcast interview.