Indian pharmaceutical companies, particularly homegrown players, are yet to catch up with the usage of digital media in terms of presence and engagement even as practitioners are increasingly using the medium to access treatment information.
Indian Pharma Digital Health Report 2015, a study released on Wednesday by digital media firm D Yellow Elephant, covering 40 companies in India across 10 key digital parameters ranging across websites, apps and 10 social media platforms, says most companies are reluctant to engage with their stakeholders digitally.
Only nine managed a score above 50 out of 100, and were categorised as Digital Primes for having established a strong foothold in the digital realm and a sound presence across various channels. "The pharmaceutical sector in India, whether Indian or global players, are lagging their global counterparts by five to seven year and if compared to other sectors, the time lag could go up to 10 years," Aman Gupta, managing director of D Yellow Elephant, said.
The pharmaceutical sector has been a late entrant in the digital space, but over the past few years, some of the firms are making conscious effort to work towards becoming a patient-centric entity rather than a molecule-promoting arm, the report said. The presence of companies were analysed on digital platforms between May 22 and June 5.
While the Digital Primes are global players — Boehringer Ingelheim, Johnson and Johnson, Novartis, Sonofi India, Pfizer, Novo Nordisk, Bayer, Roche and GSK — most of the top-rung domestic generic players as well as other multinational companies (MNCs) were in the second category called Digital Aspirants, with scores ranging between 49.5 and 20.5.
Digital Aspirants are those who have good understanding of the digital realm, while remaining in safe spaces. Though they are making their presence felt across most channels, there is a lot of room left for expansion and innovation, according to the study. About 18 out of the 40 companies, including Sun Pharma, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Biocon, Lupin, Mankind, Alembic, Lupin, Cipla, Cadila and Jubilant, apart from MNCs like Eli Lilly, Merck, Astra Zeneca and Abbot India, among others, were placed in this category.
The Digital Onlookers, which is the third category with scores ranging between 19 and 10.5, were those who are just buckling up for the digital plunge and have 13 names — Glenmark, Hetero Aurobindo, Wockhardt, Panacea Biotec and Strides, among others.
“What has emerged as a pattern in the report findings is the presence verses engagement. While pharmaceutical companies in India are present and registered on most social media platforms, they are holding back on actively engaging with stake holders," the report said. On the other hand, almost two-thirds of the health care professionals and doctors use the social media for professional purposes, the report said.
With about 38 companies present on LinkedIn, it was the most used social media platform by pharma companies while Facebook came next with the presence of about 36 companies on board, report said. But not all of them are active, it said.
On the other hand, almost two-thirds of the health care professionals and doctors use social media for precessional networking and for other professional purposes, the report said.