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Internet offers new opportunities for pharma in Russia

Legislative changes lead to rise in online marketing

Online physician communitiesThe Russian pharma industry has undergone immense change following the introduction of a new public health protection law in January last year, which imposed significant restrictions on the way it can interact with doctors.

The law, which reduced the amount of face to face contact that the pharma industry can have with the medical profession, has led to a rise in mobile and email marketing, online meetings and presentations.

In fact, statistics show that the spectrum of new techniques used by the field force in 2012 was dominated by digital tools. Webinars accounted for 21.9 per cent of sales and marketing activity in Russia, email marketing 18.6 per cent and e-detailing via mobile devices 15.7 per cent, compared to a total of 34.10 per cent for offline presentations.

With more than 60 per cent of HCPs actively using the internet in Russia and 52% of them visiting online doctor communities, there is clearly a ready-made digital audience for pharma. However, Oxana Kolosova, Managing Partner of - an online doctor community, which is part of the Networks in Health alliance, and has more than 80,000 doctors signed up to it in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan - believes many companies are failing to provide the right type of information for doctors online.  

She said: “Very often at present there's a mismatch between the information pharma puts in front of doctors and the information doctors actually want. For example, there is a huge opportunity for pharma to step in and provide education services in Russia because there are many unmet needs.

“This is particularly true in specific disease areas, like diabetes, where lots of doctors now have to deal with the complications in patients. New developments in diagnostic and treatment approaches to cardiovascular diseases is also an area of huge interest, while in oncology more information is needed on how to improve diagnostics and better identify the early signs of cancer at a primary care level. Pharma has lots of information here and it could assist doctors in their day to day practice as well as save lives of their patients.”

Pharma companies can provide this type of information in a number of ways. For example, it can share research, trials and overviews of its work. Since Russia has nine time zones, providing information from events and conferences - which doctors often cannot attend for reasons of cost and practicality - is also a very valuable way of supporting them.

In essence, the internet offers a real opportunity for pharma companies in Russia to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise by sharing information and resources that really help to enhance doctors' clinical practice.

By Alex Merckx, international development manager, Networks in Health. For more information on Networks in Health, please email You can also follow Networks in Health on Twitter: netwrksinhealth

14th November 2013

From: Marketing



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