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Internet is a force for change in pharma sales in Belgium

Doctors have radically changed the way they seek information

Online physician communitiesThe Belgian pharma industry still boasts a large sales force compared to countries such as the Netherlands. However, as health authorities in Belgium put more pressure on cash strapped pharma companies, particularly in relation to generics, and doctors have less time for face to face meetings, this sales model is becoming increasingly unsustainable.

In tandem with this, there has been a marked change in the way that doctors consume news and other information in Belgium. Printed journals are in decline and more than 85 per cent of doctors now use the online doctor community, MediQuality, which is part of Networks in Health, as their key information source.

MediQuality, which also provides on-line media for doctors in Luxemburg and the Netherlands, originally started out in 2000 as an online publication, producing six editions per week. Since then, it has gained 37,000 members and become so influential that it is often quoted by the Belgian Parliament and by other Belgian and Dutch authorities.

In addition to its daily news service, MediQuality also provides 43 different scientific newsletters, plus many resource centres where doctors can find information, discussions and links related to specific disease areas, plus online learning services. In common with many other online doctor networks across Europe, it is also fostering collaboration and discussion among its members. While this is still a fledgling activity, the number of discussions initiated spontaneously by members has tripled since the start of 2011 and many important discussions for the profession now happen on MediQuality.

Pierre de Nayer, co-founder and managing director of Citobi, a CRM applications (software & services) company that acquired MediQuality in 2007, explained: “In recent years, doctors have radically changed the way they like to seek information. They don't want to spend time reading detailed articles anymore. They like to have quick snapshots, with a global perspective. They are now “2.0.” minded and digital is the new norm.

“Pharma companies are already beginning to capitalise on this change. As the sales rep model becomes increasingly unsustainable in Belgium, fewer pharma products are launched and sales and marketing budgets are cut, we predict that the internet will play a greater role in the way that the pharma industry engages with doctors in the future.”

For more information on Networks in Health, please email Alex.Merckx@networksinhealth.com You can also follow Networks in Health on Twitter: @netwrksinhealth

8th November 2013

From: Marketing

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