I'm 3 days into my Chantix prescription and slowly adjusting to the loss of a close friend...cigarettes. I've been a smoker for over a decade and have come to a point in my life when enjoying the things in life that will eventually kill you is probably not the smartest choice. The first week of the medication states that you should continue to smoke, but it fails to tell you that you will get no enjoyment from the cigarette. I learned quickly that smoking on Chantix is the equivalent to taking a drag and not inhaling. Pointless.
When I opened the package, Pfizer included a credit card style promotion that drove users to a website for support. There was some info about a phone number to call and support groups, but I can't be really sure because I just tossed it aside. I just can't bring myself to go to a support group.
Tonight, I noticed a commercial by Pfizer that promoted www.mytimetoquit.com so I decided to check it out. Talk about Pointless! No fresh content, no community, no tips or user information, no blog, no nothing. I completely understand that the Pharmaceutical Industry has serious regulations about UGC, but this is a topic that so desperately could use some conversation. There are plenty of independent sites that provide the information I would be looking for, like this one, but I want more from Pfizer. Why? Do a simple search for Chantix...the results will depress you.
- 55+/- people have committed suicide while taking Chantix
- The actual success rate of quitting smoking is 22%, the same as "the patch" after one year
Do I believe this stuff? Well, it's a bunch of strangers with a chip on their shoulder against Pharma companies, so I take it for what it's worth. However, I know people who have had unusual experiences while taking the medication. This is reason to take pause. However, everyone is different, so much of the information you receive even from the most trusted of sources should be carefully considered. Just because one person experiences severe depression from the medication, does not mean that I will. Considering this, what could Pfizer have done?
Is there a way that the Pharma Industry can leverage communities and discuss their products without violating regulatory requirements that adds value to a community knowing that every user will have a different result?
Absolutely! Look at companies like Patients Like Me. (Full Disclosure: This is a former client). If Pfizer was truly committed to helping people quit smoking, they would create a destination that allows people to come together and discuss their experiences on the meds. Allow users to track cravings, triggers and relapses. Since smoking is habitual, as My Time To Quit frequently points out, wouldn't it be helpful to show people how to track these instances so that they can identify trouble spots? Would the community be willing to blog about their struggles and agree to not make specific claims about Chantix? I think they might be willing.
The decision to leave cigarettes in the past is a big step...one that may not work for me and many others...but many of today's smokers wont pick up the phone when they are feeling weak and I'm sure a good chunk of us would never go to a support group. However, I'd go online and blog about it. I'd micro-blog about it. I'd watch a Google Maps mash-up that shows me how often people are craving a smoke all around the world, just to know how many people out there are feeling the same thing.
Pfizer...take the bull by the horns and start using your microsites and unique URL's to do more than push people to your product pages. Trust me...it will be worth it for both your customers and your bottom line.