Indian pharmaceutical companies
lag their global peers in digital
adoption, and less than 10 per cent of them have a comprehensive strategy in place, a study by EY has revealed.
While Indian drug makers have armed medical representatives with mobile apps
and tablets, the use of digital
tools to gain customer insight, stakeholder engagement and disease management is limited.
EY surveyed drug firms and hospital chains in the country and found over half of them were in the beginners’ stage, which meant that there was either no strategy in place or use of digital
technology was limited for interaction between medical representatives and doctors. Around 40 per cent of the companies
were cautiously adopting digital
strategy with selective strategies and limited channels of engagement.
Sriram Shrinivasan, global emerging markets leader (life sciences), EY, said, “The industry is currently in a ‘perfect storm’, given pricing pressures and demands not just from the domestic market but also on the global front as well as supply-side pressures. Domestic markets continue to remain a key focus area for the companies.
To fully realise the potential of the market, the sector can no longer ignore the digital
wave characterised by increasingly informed patients and physicians, new range of customers and new disruptive market entrants.”
Shrinivasan said there was a need for the firms to move away from the traditional ‘increase feet on street strategy’ to multiple touch points across digital
He said digital
adoption would help companies
improve sales force productivity and also enable them to comply with the government's proposed code of marketing practices which bars companies
from giving freebies to doctors to push sales.
The EY study found multiple challenges to digital
adoption and many of them were not technological but organisational, cultural and regulatory in nature. Organisational silos (87 per cent), lack of authentic and enough digital
data (75 per cent) and regulatory risks (73 per cent) were cited as the top three reasons for limited digital