Reliance on pharma-sponsored digital resources among online U.S. adults is significant. The research found â€œ51% of online U.S. adults (ages 18+) use pharma-sponsored digital resources, such as condition and treatment information, disease management tools, doctor discussion guides, or mobile apps or websites.â€ This validates that the interactive information and tools produced by biopharma are being utilized and appreciated.
Use of these materials results in action: a conversation about a prescription drug. The study learned â€œ43% of consumers using pharma-sponsored digital resources have discussed prescription drugs with a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist as a result.â€ This data point supports the business objective behind providing these interactive resources: generating a conversation with a healthcare professional. Note that the study was fielded online among 6,634 U.S. adults, ages 18+ during Q4 2011.
For comparison, Prevention Magazineâ€™s Direct to Consumer Study 2011 found that as a result of seeing an advertisement â€“ not necessarily online â€“ 77% of survey respondents talked to a doctor and 23% asked for a prescription.
How scary is this! Getting consumers to talk about their medication with their physician is a good thing; talking with their pharmacist even better. However, many times this type of advertising (â€œdigital resourceâ€) results in consumers asking about something completely inappropriate. Which, as we all know, can lead toÂ a physician prescribing an unnecessary medication, using something that theyâ€™re not familiar with or prescribing something they wouldnâ€™t consider first line.
All you have to do is look at the top 5 â€œpatient and caregiver groups to agree that pharma should be involved in online health consumer communitiesâ€ to understand why this is such a bad idea.
1. ADD/ADHD Caregivers
2. Bipolar Disorder Caregivers
3. Epilepsy Caregivers
4. Cystic Fibrosis Patients
5. Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
Yikes! Choosing drug therapy is quite a bit different than picking out a book on Amazon and it should be treated that way.