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Pharma slow to grasp online opportunities

Datamonitor has revealed that the pharmaceutical industry is not acting fast enough to take advantage of opportunities presented by the growing online market.

Datamonitor has revealed that the pharmaceutical industry is not acting fast enough to take advantage of opportunities presented by the growing online market.

A new report from the leading UK online data analyst says that the pharma industry is not keeping up with the rate of progress being made in online communications and sales. It did, however, show that a growing number of customers are using the internet more and more to source information about healthcare, diseases and medicines. According to Datamonitor, online initiatives instigated by the pharmaceutical industry are ineffective and failing to maintain contact with its customers.

Author of the report and Datamonitor senior analyst, Dr Sandra Reynolds, said: "Customers are already using the web extensively to meet their information needs and will continue to do so at quite a sophisticated level. The onus is on pharma companies to get up to speed with existing and emerging technology and use the web in conjunction with existing marketing practices to bolster their share of voice."

Hitherto, pharma companies have relied on large salesforces, direct-to-customer (DTC) advertising, targeting disease awareness and setting up patient advocacy groups to increase exposure to their brands.

The report highlights that conventional sales tactics such as aggressive physician calling are no longer as efficacious. Large salesforces have also become more expensive to maintain. Pharma reps find themselves in a position where they can no longer gain access to NHS Primary Care Trust (PCT) physicians and GPs as easily as they could do in the past.

"It is an industry that is tightly regulated and this is a real handicap. There is a demand from patients for more information, but again they are sceptical if it is sourced directly from pharma," Reynolds added.

25th April 2008

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