Social Media Impact on Pharmaceutical Companies
Has pharma industries coped with eHealth innovations? Almost all aspect of healthcare has been impacted with advanced informatics innovations. This would keep evolving with advancing technology. Modern healthcare setting has 3 clear caveats: patients desire homecare; clinicians want improved patients’ care and organizations are faced with increasing cost control. The changes that accompany internet revolution wouldn’t elude pharma companies: pharmacy companies, pharmacists and associated organizations should strategize how healthcare and business will emerge in the near future.
In addition, the internet is replacing the traditional media, due to convenience, accessibility and choice. Social media, one of the substitutes, is currently being used by more than two billion people (Mobirank, 2016), majority of which are mobile users (1.9 billion) (Mobirank, 2016). This results from the two-way interaction of the platform (Syrkiewicz-Świtała and Świtała, 2012). Social media has become an avenue to strengthen and promote companies’ image (Królewski and Sala, 2014), including pharma companies. For instance, Syrkiewics-Switala found that Facebook is about the most used information source in the UK.
Also, the use of artificial intelligence, eHealth innovations and digital marketing is for both consumer supply with innovative solutions and modern production techniques in pharmaceutical market, building a strategic market positions and social network in pharma companies. This is called e-pharmarketing, which is creating a bond between pharma companies and the customers to promote sales (Armstrong and Kotler, 2012).
A survey conducted by Syrkiewicz-Switala, Romaniuk and Ptak (2016) on the fifty largest pharma companies in Poland ((Pharmaceutical Representative luty-marzec 2014/nr1(31) TOP 50, 2016) discovered that eighty-six percent of pharma companies operate eHealth solutions with social media site. Mostly used social media are: Facebook (seventy-six percent), Twitter (thirty-four percent), LinkedIn (thirty-two percent) and Google+ (twelve percent). They’re also the most used worldwide based on (Pharmaceutical Representative luty-marzec 2014/nr1(31) TOP 50, 2016). These social media platforms are being used to showcase information, like drug production techniques, company’s activities, charitable events and other materials that can greatly increase the company’s integrity, promoting acceptability and sales.
However, social media in pharma companies, using eHealth, artificial intelligence and digital marketing has its drawbacks and disadvantages. One of these is difficult measurability and lack of quick gains, because many pharma companies are integrated simultaneously (Düssel, 2009; Heuristic, 2016). Besides, the time requires for recurrent dialog, stability and lasting involvement, keeping relationships is consuming (Heuristic, 2016). These problems are more in developing countries like sub-Sahara Africa. Even EU member states are not exonerated. For instance, internet usage in Romania is less than fifty percent (Wykluczenie cyfrowe w Polsce. Raport grudzieñ, 2015).
Also, there’s a low social media acceptance in the pharma Industries, and users hate impudence (Hamala, 2014; Heuristic, 2016). Massive availability of online contents has rendered locating valuable and right information cumbersome (Syrkiewicz-Świtała and Świtała, 2012), and yet there’s no current control over unethical actions, like identity theft, information fraud and breach of privacy, and unauthorized contents (Hamala, 2014; Heuristic, 2016). Almost insurmountable challenge is the eventual submission for ethical and legal checking globally.
Notwithstanding, the benefits seems to outweigh the drawbacks. The gain of knowing the customers’ prospects (Syrkiewicz-Świtała and Świtała, 2015), increasing the presence of social media platforms (Google Trends, 2016), the chance of greatly increasing personalization of communication and media (Nowy Marketing, 2015b; Raport IRCenter.com styczeñ, 2016), opportunity of creating widespread positive company’s image (Szydłowska, 2013; RAPORT, 2016). All these should portend a bright, competitive growth for the pharma industry.
Finally, despite the huge benefits that digital marketing, eHealth and artificial intelligence is giving to the pharma industries, enhancing social media impact, it’s still being ignored by lots of pharma industries (Ustawa, 2001; Niedzielska and Syrkiewicz-Świtała, 2011; Syrkiewicz-Świtała et al., 2015). It’s hoped that with increasing awareness through positive conferences and online news mediums more of the companies would wake up to the realities of 21st century innovations in all aspects of human endeavor.