Where: Campus Biotech in Geneva 
What: nice lunch at the Biotech cafeteria

Thanks to my conversations with Sadia Kaenzig, I’ve learned that you catch the best fish by choosing the best bait, and not blindly shoot in a barrel. Whereas most people just try to use all the social networks at their disposal, regardless of whether they are effective, or even relevant, Sadia showed that, in some cases, restricting yourself to a few pertinent networks could have the best impact, and greatly enhance your signal to noise ratio.

I met Sadia more than 7 years ago at the UN Montessori school where our sons became best mates in preschool. It became obvious that it was not only our sons that were sharing some things in common.

Sadia is an expert in global health, R&D, humanitarian, development, human rights action, multilateral diplomacy, and international negotiations, coupled with strategic leadership in advising general management on planning, and business development.

Sadia is currently the Communications Manager at IFPMA (Internal Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations), which is the leading global association representing the research-based biopharmaceutical companies, in regions and countries across the world. IFPMA advocates policies and practices that encourage the discovery of and access to life-saving, and life-enhancing medicines and vaccines, for people everywhere.

During my conversation with Sadia, I discovered the complexity of her daily job and the challenges of communicating around health:

  • aligned campaigns and messaging across 31 companies and 50 national associations, all members of IFPMA
  • abide by pharma codes of practice and ethics 
  • as a key player within the global health community, follow closely the communications activities of major stakeholders (national health authorities, World Health Organisation, WTO, WIPO, GAVI, PDPs, NGOs and academics)

So, how can you manage an integrated campaign at IFPMA?

Like any federation-based organization, the communications team at IFPMA (2 people) rely on a network of communicators inside pharmaceutical companies and associations. They subcontract specialized communications agencies for an array of communications strategies and goals. They generate support to clusters of experts by topic and priority fit to purpose (regulatory, vaccines, ethics, global health, and innovation), with the goal to share best practices, gain insights, and agree collectively on way forward.

Digital comms is an integral part of the communication team (not separated) and they made the deliberate choice of using few channels like LinkedIn, twitter, Youtube, slideshare and flickr (no Facebook, no snapshat, etc…).

Apart from the usual global health issues, social media is also mainly used on key technical topics like pharmaceutical regulatory, innovation, vaccines, biotherapeutics, and IP.

For IFPMA, LinkedIn is a good platform to share and reach out to the right stakeholders at the right time. With a very communicative DG, who generates blogs on regular basis, a relevant social media playbook covering key items for the year, is delivered to cover:

  • General overview 
  • Portfolio key dates 
  • Events: internal (organized by IFPMA), external (not organized by IFPMA but where IFPMA takes part in) and side events (lFPMA private event alongside a bigger event) 

And last but not least, social media analytics are shared with members so that they are kept aware of developments and progress achieved.

IFPMA just launched a major campaign geared towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030. 



Some links to find out more about Sadia and IFPMA:

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