Case: industry should be embracing digital media

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Steve Case, chairman and CEO of Revolution Health and co-founder of AOL, lamented pharma's hesitation to embrace interactive and inject a greater share of promotional budget into online initiatives.

“It is astonishing to me how under-invested this industry is in digital media,” Case told delegates at the ePharma Summit in Philadelphia. “This is crazy.”

The biggest problem, he said, is that consumers are not actively engaged, referring to how easy it is to log onto the web to buy, say, U2 concert tickets, but how it is not possible to schedule an appointment with a doctor.

However, Case is confident that present hurdles to online initiatives, such as regulatory and privacy issues, will be overcome and the community will start to “experiment more aggressively” and eventually embrace digital media. He recalled the early days of e-commerce as an example of how online attitudes and user behavior transform over time. “If I'd stood up back then and suggested that consumers would enter their credit card number onto [Amazon.com], that the number would be stored for future purchases, and that the site would recommend what they should buy next time, I'd have been run out of the room.” 
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