Top Drug Sites for Consumers

February 13, 2008
Pharmaceutical Executive

Volume 0, Issue 0

More and more consumers are surfing the Web for information about prescription drugs, but many bypass brand.com sites, a new report says.

According to a Manhattan Research study of consumer online habits, a wired pharma consumer is twice as likely to request a prescription than a non?Web savvy patient. But of the 80 million consumers who have gone online for health information, only half have visited a brand.com site.

For information about drugs that are the subject of DTC ads, consumers are more likely to go to WebMD or Google. "Pharma companies must target product site content to make sure it is relevant and understand why consumers are visiting," said Manhattan Research's vice president of research Meredith Abreu Ressi.

Top three reasons why consumers visited a brand.com site:

  • Physician mentioned drug
  • Television advertisement
  • Read about product and wanted more information

Top Sites

Manhattan Research tracked the most-trafficked product sites, and surveyed consumers to find out which sites they recalled the most.

Top sites for consumer satisfaction:

  • Requip (GSK/Parkinson's disease)
  • Actos (Takeda/diabetes)
  • Advair (GSK/asthma)
  • Lantus (Sanofi-Aventis/diabetes)
  • Mirena (Schering Health and Berlex Labs/contraception)

Abreu said that Lantus, for example, received high marks for features such as video demonstrations, success stories, and easy-to-understand information.

Top sites driving Rx requests:

  • Chantix (Pfizer/smoking cessation)
  • Cialis (Lilly/erectile dysfunction)
  • Viagra (Pfizer/erectile dysfunction)
  • Aciphex (Janssen-Cilag/ulcer)
  • Ambien CR (Sanofi-Aventis/insomnia)

Web site features most favored by consumers included those offering information about either side effects or a specific medical condition treated by a drug. Rebates, coupons, and drug-comparison tools also ranked high.

About the Study

The study was conducted to determine which healthcare products consumers have researched online in the past 12 months. The goal was to gain insight into consumers' online behavior, in particular when it comes to pharmaceutical information.

Using a list of 200 product sites, consumers were asked which ones they visited, why they visited the site, and how they were driven to the site.

"Our clients use this data to segment the visitors to their site within the context of other sites they are visiting, and their likelihood to take action," said Ressi. "Also, to understand what drives consumers to these sites and which ones are most successful in a therapeutic category."

Finally, consumers don't necessarily want to chat online with a representative or participate in a community message board. Web 2.0 calls for a two-way conversation between a patient and company, yet few Web sites have quality online customer-service offerings. GSK and Novartis stand out as two pharma companies that have a solid Web support service.

"In the coming years pharma will become more comfortable advertising within these communities as well as starting dialogues with some of the online consumer opinion leaders," Ressi said. "What we are talking about with Web 2.0 is keeping these leaders happy, identifying the most valuable customers, and going from one-way marketing to a dialogue with customers using e-mail."