Written by on . Pegasus.

Digital communication and pharma, does it work?

Pharmaceutical companies have shied away from using digital media in the past, but Sophie Abbott, Pharma Account Executive, discusses why they need to embrace it to succeed.

If you ask any agency or business, they will no doubt agree the value of digital marketing to any business is huge. As consumers are spending up to 24 hours a week on their mobiles[i], businesses have ample opportunity to tell customers about their latest products.

Digital media is not only fundamental for the success of retailers promoting their goods, it is changing the way all parts of our society communicate, providing a vital channel for the healthcare sector.

Until recently social media and the highly regulated pharmaceutical industry were considered to be incongruent. Pharmaceutical companies were considered unapproachable and corporate. They cannot sell directly to patients due to strict UK regulations, so what’s the point in considering social media which promotes open conversation?

At Pegasus, we believe in challenging the status quo. Our report, Generation Z: The Future of Health and Wellbeing, considered how those born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s view the pharmaceutical industry. It made for sober reading. We discovered 63 per cent were unsure of what pharma companies actually do and 46 per cent of Gen Zs believed pharma companies are more interested in profits than the wellbeing of the people who use their medication.

Digital media can help pharma companies change this negative perception and convey their true brand message, closing the link between the pharmaceutical industry, patients, healthcare professionals and everyday people, including Gen Z.

Pharmaceutical companies have been particularly successful in harnessing digital platforms to offer advice and promote disease awareness. Social media, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and online communities, have worked to help give pharma companies a voice and a way to express their brand personality. Social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are also providing a space for patients to share their treatment experiences amongst their peers, providing invaluable connections for them and giving pharmaceutical companies insight into the minds and opinions of patients.

85% of consumers are growing in confidence[ii] after reading about the benefits and developments pharmaceutical companies are making, allowing them to understand more about their healthcare.

But this can only happen when clients are working within the boundaries of industry regulation. At Pegasus, we follow strict compliance processes and we work alongside regulators, like the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), to ensure our clients can proceed with confidence.

As digital communication becomes ever more entrenched in our modern society, the pharmaceutical industry needs to continue to evolve not only to stay front and centre in patients’ and healthcare professionals’ minds but to help build a healthier future.

[i] Telegraph 2018

[ii] McKinsey & Company