Pharmaceutical industry’s insight on digital marketing, social media, mobile apps, online video, websites and other interactive healthcare tools
Pharmaceutical companies are making more of an effort to engage with European patients through digital challenges, but their success in doing so can vary as a small handful of innovators starts to emerge.
Decision Resources Group (DRG) identified Novartis, Pfizer and Sanofi as best-in-class when it came to the range and sophistication of the digital support and education resources they produce for patients.
The analysts pay praise to Novartis in particular for its “well-integrated ecosystem of digital assets”. With resources that range from educational videos to healthcare service locators and more, the Swiss pharma company can drive “patient support and awareness with their advocacy campaigns”.
DRG found that Novartis led when it came to patient support assets, mobile apps, social media and digital channel integration, while Sanofi’s patient education, patient engagement, and UX and navigation were held up as best-in-class. Finally, Pfizer’s patient support and digital channel integration work was praised.
DRG Digital’s Best Practices for Patient Digital Engagement in the EU5 report also noted that the pharma’s patient digital initiatives in the five largest European countries has ‘grown appreciably’ over the last three years.
Looking at the factors behind this trend they point to demand from both the public (with 48% of adults either using, or interested in using, pharma digital assets) and doctors. A DRG study also found 68% of physicians in the EU5 countries were more likely to prescribe a product if its manufacturer has good patient support and beyond-the-pill services.
Ashwin Balasubramanian, lead digital analyst at Decision Resources Group, wrote of the findings: ‘When it comes to digital engagement, pharma marketers in Europe have traditionally been physician-focused.
‘Despite the industry’s rallying cry around patient-centricity, regulatory concerns and a reluctance to ‘change the playbook’ at some organisations have stymied efforts to invest in innovative approaches to patient education, engagement and support.’
However, DRG says pharma’s digital patient initiatives aren’t always aligned to patient needs, often being piloted at either a therapy area or local market level, rather than across regions. They add that companies often provide the same types of education and support features, ignoring key unmet patient needs.
The analysts assessed 132 digital assets, such as websites and apps, produced by firms in the UK, Italy, Spain, France and Germany.