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Harnessing insight from online networks

How can pharma use online doctor networks to best effect in 2014?

Digital Futures

It is widely acknowledged that pharma lags behind many other industries in using digital tactics for effective sales and marketing. In fact, globally the pharma industry spends only 15.3 per cent of its marketing budgets on digital, according to Across Health, and most of this continues to be devoted to brand.com websites.

Across Health found that barriers to effective digital marketing for pharma include a lack of strategy, a lack of conviction about the value of digital and anxiety about regulation and compliance. Establishing credibility online is also a problem for pharma and evidence from Doctors.net.uk suggests that only three per cent of doctors think online pharma company resources are credible, while 42 per cent never visit their websites.

Research conducted by Doctors.net.uk among 1,000 GPs shows 52 per cent of doctors do not see any sales reps in a typical week due to time pressures, and 23 per cent prefer to source information online. This preference for independent information, combined with doctors' need to communicate in a secure environment that cannot be accessed by the public, have driven the growth of independent online doctor networks in the past few years. There are now around 80 such organisations worldwide with more than 3.5 million doctors (a third of all doctors) signed up to them.

Furthermore, the traditional sales rep model is under intense pressure and for many brands the cost of face-to-face engagement is simply not justifiable other than for a small number of high prescribers and key decision makers or influencers.

Read the full article on the Networks in Health PMHub profile.

This article was originally published in the PME supplement Digital Futures

Article by
Dr Tim Ringrose

CEO of Doctors.net.uk, the UK’s largest and most active online network of doctors. He can be contacted on tel: +44 (0)1235 828400 or email him

You can also follow Doctors.net.uk on Twitter @doctors_net_uk

5th February 2014

Article by
Dr Tim Ringrose

CEO of Doctors.net.uk, the UK’s largest and most active online network of doctors. He can be contacted on tel: +44 (0)1235 828400 or email him

You can also follow Doctors.net.uk on Twitter @doctors_net_uk

5th February 2014

From: Marketing, Healthcare

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