What effect will Coronavirus have on DTC?

QUICK READ: Many of the coronavirus stories getting shared the most on social media contain inaccurate information. While people flock online for updated information the effects of how they collect and use health information online could affect all DTC.

One of the biggest dangers during this outbreak is the misinformation that has been spreading about the virus but how do online health seekers differentiate credible health information from bad online health information?

While the reputation of the pharma industry is in the trash research confirms that they still trust pharma to develop the drugs we need. I did an online search, in social media, for various health conditions and found outright dangerous information. People with diabetes, for example, were talking about alternative ways to control their blood sugar that could be very dangerous.

While pharma largely ignores the current trends we need to try and understand how this health crisis is going to affect future DTC marketing. We can, for example, theorize that people will be using sites that they know have credible health information like WebMD and the Mayo Clinic.

This weekend I did a click-stream analysis for a client and found out that although traffic was up slightly visitors were also going to other sites after and before coming to their site. Pharma companies may have clicks but they don’t have a strategy to keep people engaged on their sites.

The maze of online health information is getting more complicated. Not only is there a lot of bad health information there are a lot of scams promising everything from rapid weight loss to a cure for chronic health conditions. The FDA has shut down some but as they do another five spring up.

It all comes down to trust. Pharma companies need to go above and beyond when it comes to online health information. This means using thought leaders to create content and helping online health seekers learn more about managing their health problems. Content is key and a content strategy is essential rather than stagnant sites.

The DTC environment is going to change as a result of the Coronavirus. Smart DTC marketers will listen to what online health seekers are telling them, dumb ones will continue as nothing has changed.