Despite the cacophony of technology available today, not all industries have embraced or responded to it as steadily as it has proliferated our lives. Healthcare is one of those industries, although now it’s on the fast track.
As a way of studying and distilling how trends in healthcare and the life sciences impact ecommerce, researchers at The University Tilak Maharashta Vidyapeeth in Pude, India recently released A Critical Study of Ecommerce in the Pharmaceutical Industry.
Ron Dyer, a former technology analyst with Goldman Sachs who, when interviewed for the study was a consultant for Boys’ Harbor, a New York social service agency, says technology will dramatically transform the pharmaceutical industry in the coming decade. He called “increased business to business transactions over the Internet...unstoppable.” Dyer noted that even today, consumers are obtaining their prescriptions and fulfilling other medical needs over the Internet, and that trend will become prevalent as time evolves.
“Manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers will do the business transactions online and will increase these transactions online,” said Dyer. He also predicted that health care providers will offer chat room sessions and discussions over the World Wide Web, so information regarding health care can be exchanged quickly and inexpensively.
E-marketing and the pharmaceutical industry
Time was when pharmaceutical representatives knocked on the doors of doctor’s offices to introduce the physician to the latest drug on the market. Today, the Internet and other technologies allow for other interactions and opportunities that expand the reach of drug companies.
For example, the use of electronic detailing, a strategy used by drug reps to communicate more directly with physicians, pharmacies and other members of the pharmaceutical supply chain, is ever-expanding. Videoconferencing and emails are two examples of electronic detailing.
The report revealed pharmaceutical giants offer financial incentives to physicians to participate in e-detailing. While e-marketing hasn’t found overwhelming favor in the medical community, “it is cheaper than traditional sales representatives,” according to the report.
How ecommerce impacts the pharmaceutical industry
The Internet allows consumers to interact with drug manufacturers to detail their medical needs. “Customer input is obtained fast resulting in faster product development,” notes the report. The costs associated with distribution are also decreased as that process becomes increasingly automated.
Increased visibility through search engine marketing is another way technology impacts the pharmaceutical industry.
Other ways ecommerce affects the pharmaceutical industry include:
- Marketing and sales
If utilized properly, big data and technology can go a long way to lowering the costs of healthcare. It can become increasingly accessible and more immediate, although the risks of Internet hacking, cybercrime and identity theft remain constant dangers.
Therefore, the entire medical community, ranging from the neighborhood pharmacist to hospitals to global drug manufacturers must remain vigilant against those threats while dedicating themselves to perfecting their use of technology to improve the level of care they provide consumers.