Pharma websites not influential enough

KEY TAKEAWAY: Online health seekers are on a journey that is very personal.  They will go to a lot of websites to get the information they need to make a decision about treatment options and while pharma websites are part of that journey there is a lot of room for improvement.

I just finished analyzing quantitative research that we conducted in November on the impact of pharma product websites on a patient’s decision to ask their doctor for/about the product and the results clearly shows that pharma HAS to do a better job in persuading online health seekers to ask for their product.  Here are some top-line findings:

1ne: The vast majority (84%) said that pharma product websites only provided part of the information they need to ask for the product.

2wo: Online health seekers don’t go to just one website.  They go to several websites. Their top informational need: side effects and cost.

3hree: When asked “what could pharma product websites do to convince you to ask for their product” respondents said make the information easier to understand (71%), include resources (55%) and “I want to know what other patient experiences are like (61%).

4our: Online health seekers do not enjoy going online for health information because they often get conflicting information and not sure who to trust.   Physicians are still trusted more than online, but online health seekers are frustrated as they can’t make an appointment just to talk about treatment options.

5ive: Social media is part of the informational collective but Millenials trust social media more than Boomers.

6ix: The overwhelming majority (88%) said they would visit a pharma website if prescribed the drug, but they still want to hear from current patients.  Among the top page to visit: side effects/safety and coupon pages.

7even: Some online health seekers will spend weeks/months researching various treatments before making a decision and even then they will wait until a convenient time to ask their doctor.

Clearly this shows, not only the gaps, but the opportunities for pharma to improve the online experience and drive patients into their HCP to ask for the product.  In addition, despite the proliferation of health and wellness information online and in real life, a according to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 12% of the U.S. adult population is “health literate. ” Pharma has to do a better job to communicate product benefits to patients.

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