Physicians Interactive, a digital physician-marketing firm owned by Merck, said it acquired Quantia, which operates an online community that counts about one-third of US physicians as its members.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, said Bill Paquin, Physicians Interactive’s chief commercial officer and general manager of life sciences.

Physicians Interactive offers virtual, multichannel marketing for promoted as well as non-promoted and orphaned products to physicians and patients, according to its website.

The move toward a value-based reimbursement model, the consolidation of physician practices into integrated delivery networks and the decline of the traditional pharmaceutical strategy of marketing blockbuster drugs to the masses are three factors contributing to the demand for tailored online marketing to healthcare providers, Paquin noted.

“Increasingly physicians are inaccessible to life sciences companies and to payers,” he said. “How do you communicate to them in that environment?”


Those challenges have created more interest in digital marketing to physicians. 

The drugmaker Merck acquired a controlling interest in Physicians Interactive in 2013 through its Global Health Innovation Fund after first taking a $17 million stake the year before.

Previous acquisitions include Tomorrow Networks, a mobile healthcare advertising company, in 2014, and InfoMedics, a provider of interactive patient communications platforms, in 2012.