Over half of internet users access company sponsored sites for medical advice

An American survey has revealed that more than half of all adults look at drug company sponsored information on the internet to find information about health issues and treatments. The information was viewed on either a website or a mobile phone app that was linked directly linked with a pharmaceutical company.

The survey, carried out by Manhatten Research, interviewed 6,634 adults in the United States in the final quarter of 2011 and revealed that 51% of internet users used pharmaceutical company sponsored digital resources. This is promising information for digital marketing in the phrama sector.

For the sector, the results are a welcome sign that the public is not averse to looking at sponsored information when it comes to matters concerning their health. The results showed that internet used the websites as a resource on a wide ranging field of topics including diagnosis, information on illness and disease, management of conditions, possible treatments, drug information and even how to broach subjects with their doctor.

Another finding of the survey, and a further encouraging sign for the industry, was that 43% of those surveyed also revealed that they discussed the prescription drugs identified by their online research with their doctors.

The Senior Healthcare Analyst at Manhattan Research, Maureen Malloy identified helping internet users prepare for raising the results of their online research as a key opportunity for brands which was currently being underutilised.

Other results showed that the use of company sponsored information increased dramatically in the event of people suffering from a chronic condition. Approximately 75% of angina patients and 68% of people with rheumatoid arthritis had accessed online information directly sourced from sites associated with pharmaceutical companies.

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