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10 Remapping the Market

Does pharma's global model need a shake up?

Digital has succeeded where armies, politics and religion have failed; taking over the world. Where once there was Alexander the Great, Augustus Caesar, Genghis Khan and Napoleon Bonaparte, we now have Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos and (until recently) Steve Jobs. We speak one language, adopt new behaviours, and follow the same brands. So what does this mean to pharma and its global approach to business?

The global invasion of Apple, Paypal, Instagram and others has conditioned what people have come to expect from digital experiences. They’ve set a standard that is recognised worldwide and moulded a uniformity in digital behaviours. Consider how intuitively a person can use an iPad, or the like, share and comment behaviours that are inherent in all social networks. Platforms may vary, but the means of interaction remain the same.

Line, Japan’s most popular social network , features a timeline and homepage akin to that of Facebook. 69% of internet use in Germany is via a computer, where as in Kenya usage swings dramatically towards mobile (98%). Yet in both, the average time an internet user spends online is around the 3 hour mark.

Furthermore, the digital global standard is extremely far reaching. The ‘unconnected’ global population is ever dwindling. India is experiencing 58% year-on-year growth of internet users amongst its rural communities, whilst mobile phones are a common commodity even to remote East African nomadic herders who live without regular access to electricity or running water. In such communities, digital healthcare support, however basic, is all the more valuable. It might be difficult and costly for a patient to reach the nearest healthcare professional, but if they can quickly and inexpensively seek medical advice online, or even via text or phone call, symptoms that might otherwise be ignored can be alleviated.

14th November 2014

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