Tag Archives: Merck Migranes Diabetes Apps Merck Manual Coppertone iPhone App Advertising FDA Regs December 6 September 16 2010

A Priceless — But Unverified — Comment From Today!



Early this morning, I mentioned Merck’s recent wanderings — into the “mobile application as marketing” world.

An anonymous commenter just offered an observation — which, even if apocryphal, made me smile. So, I’ll repeat it here, along with an entirely original graphic, to pay homage to the fine comment (see at right):

. . . .Anonymous said:

. . .wonder why the apps are for free?

Because good old Merck could not find a way to ensure the revenue would get to the right cost center. . .

I kid you not.

September 16, 2010 12:42 PM. . . .

Well, that seems plausible — or, at least as plausible as the notion that Merck would give the app away to diabetics, and then only later, after the DTC advert rules are sorted out by FDA, in this emerging area — start pushing ads to them, for Merck prescription products, related to their specific disease stage.

We’ll keep an eye on this.

Need Pushed Pharma-Adverts — To Patients, With Great Health Coverage? “There’s (Soon-To-Be) An App For That.”


At the outset, I do want to commend Whitehouse Station on helping diabetes patients, and migrane sufferes, with keeping track of their symptoms, reactions and conditions. Merck has introduced a few apps to do these things, gratis, recently. Kudos. Last December, Merck made an “app version” of the Merck Manual available. In June 2010, it released a phone-diary of sorts, to track UV exposure — under the legacy Schering-Plough Coppertone® trademark, natch’ally.

However. . . as industry veterans, we all know where this is headed — and InformationWeek overnight caught Merck’s CIO admitting exactly what the end game is, here:

. . . .While the disease-related apps are unbranded, the company also is experimenting with mobile apps that blend health information with not-so-subtle pitches for Merck products. Case in point is the Coppertone MyUV Alert, a mobile application released this summer that lets users check the local UV index and offers sun care tips, including reminders to apply sun block. The application can also send Coppertone coupons to customers. According to Merck, the MyUV Alert was downloaded more than 20,000 times in the first two weeks of its release. . . .

FDA needs to step in and get specific about how the regulatory scheme will work — in the emerging smartphone mobile app ad space.