The results of exclusive research with people seeking health information online in the US, UK and Canada should be a wake-up call for pharma, says Richard Meyer.
The results of a recent survey with over 16,000 people looking for health-related information suggest that pharma companies need to review their digital marketing capabilities. The data come from research with responders in the US (n = 9,544), UK (n = 3,674) and Canada (n = 3,285).
Here are some topline findings.
(1) Regarding the search for online health information, most were confused with the depth of information found and spent a lot of time trying to better understand and confirm it. Among the key complaints were that health information was too hard to understand and that some of the information was outdated.
(2) Pharma product websites were only seen as resources for the drug, not as resources for health information. In addition pharma companies did not update their content enough, especially when treatments were in the news.
(3) The number one online site mentioned was WebMD but the vast majority of respondents (71%) said they went to multiple websites to get all the information they needed.
(4) Social media was becoming more important in the search for online health information, with people looking for information on the experiences of others with certain treatments, along with ways to save money and work with their insurance companies to get a prescribed/recommended treatment.
(5) Women went online for health information more than men, although they only went online when there was a trigger (i.e. upcoming appointment with doctor, or diagnosis).
(6) Respondents did go to pharma websites to review medications, but also went to competitors’ sites. Their choice of treatment was often based on cost and benefit versus side effects, as it related to quality of life.
(7) Even though direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising is not permitted in the UK or Canada, online…