Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Pharma PR and digital media

Graham Edwards, Regional President, Ogilvy Healthworld, Asia Pacific, feels that “the standard of healthcare communications is, by and large, pretty average, to say the least”.

In an interview with agencyfaqs, Edwards calls for radical changes in pharma communications. “The pharma industry has been largely dependent on ‘paper’ communications, such as medical journals. It’s time to move from paper to a bigger canvas, such as digital media…

“Nowadays, it’s getting harder and harder for medical representatives to catch hold of doctors. Most doctors today don’t have the time to meet medical reps. On the other hand, doctors can’t afford to ignore pharma companies, as these companies are the greatest source of information on the latest drugs and the pharma industry as such.

“So, in order to solve this ‘time’ problem, digital media seems to be the way to go. In fact, it has already caught on in other parts of the globe, particularly in North America and Japan. For instance, ‘e-detailing’ on the Internet has a mechanism through which the doctor goes to a website and checks out information on a particular drug. This will catch on in India as well.

“Apart from e-detailing, even patient support programmes can use the digital medium effectively. There will be a time when we will be able to send ‘compliance’ messages on mobile phones. For instance, diabetics who don’t take their medicines regularly will be sent SMS reminders.”

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