Internet most trusted source for health info: survey

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Seventy-five percent of consumers consider the Internet their most trusted source for researching drug information, a new survey shows.
The analysis, conducted by acquisitions solutions firm Prospectiv, showed that only 15% of consumers chose broadcast media as their most trusted and reliable source of ailment and drug information. Just 10% of those polled said magazines were their preferred source of drug info.

The survey of 800 US consumers, conducted in June, also found that online consumers favor general health Web sites over pharmaceutical company sites. Fifty-four percent of respondents preferred general health Web sites, compared to 37% who chose specific ailment-focused sites. Just 4% of consumers said they preferred pharmaceutical company sites.

Prospectiv's president and CEO Jere Doyle said that the survey's results confirm what many marketers have predicted for years – a shift to the Internet by consumers searching for healthcare information.

However pharmaceutical brand managers will still need to continue to build relationships with consumers by using an integrated marketing approach, Doyle told MM&M.

“I think you will see dollars shift to the Internet but a combination of TV, print and Internet can be a real winning strategy.” Doyle said. “We also recommend building a direct-to-patient database by finding those patients out there that suffer from the ailment your drug treats, getting them to ask, and beginning a dialogue or a relationship with them.”

The Prospectiv survey also gathered opinions on television pharmaceutical ads:

*83% of consumers surveyed expressed concerns that pharmaceutical ads on television can be confusing and misleading.

*89% agreed with the sentiment that television drug treatment advertisements need to be more closely regulated.

*72% of respondents said there were “too many” drug treatment advertisements on television.

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