Health information on the Internet and Marketing online

September 18, 2007

My friend Meritxell Roca, a researcher from Open University of Catalonia, has sent me a link to Pharmaceutical Marketing On-line: Stuck in Web 1.5: a headline from the Pharmaceutical Marketing Online report that checks the temperature of on-line advertising spending by the US pharmaceutical and healthcare industry.

I haven’t access the full report and I will not buy it, but it is so interesting to notice:

By 2011, the pharmaceutical category will account for 5% or $2.2 billion of Internet advertising. Growth will come from pharmaceuticals, hospitals and other healthcare services, courtesy of the increasing influence of consumer-directed health plans.

Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical industry hasn’t fully adopted Web 2.0, and by restricting their brand sites to simple online information centers, pharma marketers are missing opportunities to engage consumers and boost compliance.

First remark has to make us think about why Google has launched Personal Health Records and why is interested in health issues.On the other hand, we may think and research about the implications of the advertisement on the health content provided by the industry who is clearly market oriented.

Second remark makes me think about the strategy of centralization or decentralization of health information on the Internet. This strategy is determined by the mission and the values of the industry. So probably again healthcare values are opposite to some Web 2.0 values. I recommend you reading of Katz, James E., Ronald E. Rice & S. Acord. (2004). E-health networks and social transformations: Expectations of centralization, experiences of decentralization. Pp. 293-318 in M. Castells, The network society: A cross-cultural perspective. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.