How physician preference for mobile influences strategy

Photo credit: Kārlis Dambrāns/Creative Commons

Physicians like mobile and they prefer the iPhone to Android devices — and that knowledge is changing the way drugmakers promote their products online.

As pharma companies have learned about physicians' mobile habits, it has led many of them to utilize responsive design on their websites in an effort to support the viewing habits of doctors. Purdue Pharma, for example, is using responsive design in all online communications, including nonpersonal promotion, according to comments made Tuesday by Peter Justason, the company's director of eMarketing, at the annual ePharma conference in New York City.

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“We are mobile-first,” added Dr. Nate Gross, co-founder of Doximity, an online physicians network.

The most recent Doximity research shows that 90% of the doctors who use the site are iPhone users and that 70% of its overall physician traffic comes from physicians using their mobile devices, Gross noted.

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Still, even as doctors increasingly move toward mobile, pharma executives say that a company's digital strategy needs to commence at least 18 months before a product is expected to receive FDA approval. Utilizing a digital platform in late-stage clinical trials is primarily done for market-research purposes — in order to better understand what patients are saying about the disease or condition. Digital tactics and techniques have also become more popular for clinical-trial recruitment.

“If you're not thinking about using digital by Phase III, you're too late,” said Peter Dannenfelser, director of marketing at Janssen Pharmaceuticals' Digital Center of Excellence. “You better be using digital.”

Correction: This story incorrectly stated that Purdue Pharma is using responsive design in all online communications, with the exception of nonpersonal promotion. The company is using responsive design in online communications.