European Consumers Prefer to Receive Information from Drug Makers Directly

As pharmaceutical companies gradually explore different ways of using social media, a new survey carried out in Europe has suggested that people looking for information about drug makers and their products are not so enthusiastic.

Despite weighty restrictions on DTC advertising in Europe, nearly two in five online Europeans would like to be able to learn more about prescription drugs directly from the pharmaceutical companies, according to the new Cybercitizen Health Europe study, published yesterday by pharmaceutical and healthcare market research company, Manhattan Research.

Manhattan Research conduct annual research studies into eHealth trends among healthcare professionals and consumers in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

Cybercitizen Health Europe 2011 explored how European consumers use digital health and pharmaceutical information.  The study was conducted online with 3,020 adults in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

Major topics of the research include multiscreen online health behaviour, online health information discovery, digital health media mix, prescription drug information seeking, and online pharmaceutical resources within Europe.

The research showed that online consumers in Italy had the strongest desire to learn about drugs from the companies themselves, while their counterparts in Germany are the least likely to be interested.  Additionally, specific patient groups across Europe overall, such as online users diagnosed with acute pain, osteoporosis and arrhythmia, showed a greater interest in information from pharmaceutical companies than the average consumer.

However, the survey concluded that consumers want “practical online resources”, such as disease and treatment information and condition management tools, rather than “online contests and games”.  Additionally, Manhattan Research identified “a lack of interest in pharma on Facebook and Twitter”.

Among people who are already using or are interested in online information and tools from pharmaceutical companies, only 13% want to access this content on Facebook and 5% on Twitter.  In contrast, 43% of the surveyed audience would like to obtain resources from websites about conditions and diseases.


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