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Study ranks top pharma websites

The websites for the drugs Levitra, Cialis and Chantix are among the most effective at getting consumers to ask doctors for prescriptions, according to a survey

The websites for Bayer's erectile dysfunction drug Levitra (vardenafil), Pfizer's smoking cessation drug Chantix (varenicline) and Lilly's erectile dysfunction drug Cialis (tadalafil) are among the most effective at getting consumers to ask their doctors for prescriptions, according to a new survey.

The healthcare market research company Manhattan Research surveyed 6,500 adults who use the Internet for health information, asking them about their visits to a total of more than 320 pharma product websites.

The Levitra site was the most likely to drive visitors to request a prescription from their doctors, while the top ten also included Chantix, Cialis, AstraZeneca's heartburn treatment Nexium (esomeprazole), Bayer's oral contraceptive Yaz (drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol), Pfizer's fibromyalgia drug Lyrica (pregabalin), Merck's contraceptive vaginal ring NuvaRing (progestin and estrogen), AstraZeneca's asthma treatment  Symbicort (budesonide and formoterol), Pfizer's erectile dysfunction drug Viagra (sildenafil) and Sepracor's insomnia therapy Lunesta (eszopiclone).

Overall, "pharma product websites are effective at driving post-visitation action," the study concluded. Seventy-four per cent of the consumers surveyed took a product-related action after visiting a product site, which the study defined as discussing the product with a doctor, family or friends; requesting or filling a prescription; or searching for more product information online.

The survey also looked at other aspects of consumers' online behaviour, including the reasons why people visit pharma product sites. Among those who were visiting a site seeking information for themselves (as opposed to for a friend or family member), 33 per cent said they were visiting the website of a drug they already use; 15 per cent said they had taken the drug in the past but were not currently using it; 13 per cent said they were taking a different drug for the same condition; 12 per cent said they had the condition but were not taking any drug for it; and 8 per cent said they had a prescription for the product that they had not yet filled.

Sixty-six per cent of visitors to pharma websites said they were seeking information for themselves. Of the 34 per cent who were looking for information for someone else, 51 per cent were looking on behalf of an immediate family member; 19 per cent on behalf of a friend; and 15 per cent on behalf of someone for whom they are a caregiver.

2nd February 2011

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