Two thirds (60 per cent) of pharma marketers said they would be concerned if in the next 12 months they were asked to carry out a digital campaign for a brand they work for despite 62 per cent of 18-24 year olds now choosing the internet over visiting their GP when unwell, according to research from 3 Monkeys Health + Wellness.
Results drawn from a survey of 2,500 pharmaceutical marketing professionals revealed that four out of five (83 per cent) pharma marketers believe communication across the sector is harder now than five years ago, with rules and regulation being pharma marketers top concern (77 per cent) about using digital and social media.
A parallel survey of consumers found that the internet and digital materials were now the most popular source for health information amongst younger audiences. As well as 62 per cent of 18-24 year olds checking the internet when feeling unwell rather than visiting a GP, 73 per cent of consumers of all ages admitted to checking their GP’s diagnosis online after visiting.
“Consumers want to know more – and through the proliferation of mediums with which they can do so, expectations have changed. If the industry doesn’t open itself up for change, patients and carers will simply by-pass them and go straight to Wikipedia. The fact that younger audiences are looking towards the internet before seeking advice from a healthcare professional is simply a sign of things to come,” remarked Dr Martin Godfrey, managing director at 3 Monkeys Health + Wellness.
Of the pharma marketers surveyed 89 per cent said there was a role for pharmaceutical brands to help bridge communications between health care professionals and consumers.
Dr Godfrey added: “Healthcare communications is turgid, with fear and regulations creating a lasting effect across the industry… there is huge scope for companies to adopt more patient-centred strategies. It’s now time for the pharmaceutical industry in the UK to consider moving to a new way of thinking – one that’s more flexible and innovative, daring to learn from other consumer-centric sectors which are also regulated.”
40 per cent of the consumers surveyed said they currently distrusted the big pharmaceutical corporation.