Thursday, June 23, 2005

Pharmaceutical Marketing Online (more info)

Demographic Profile

Forrester Research has found that US consumers who do take the time to research health information—whether it is online or offline—tend to be more comfortable with new technology and have more education and higher household incomes than those consumers who do not conduct health-related research.

Interestingly, Forrester found that just 7% of those people who have recently done some health research have only visited 'general health Web sites' such as WebMD, while 18% have gone to both general health Web sites and offline publications, and 20% have turned to health magazines or publications alone.

As might be expected, a high proportion of health researchers told Forrester that they had been diagnosed with a disease or medical condition. Furthermore, more than two thirds of consumers who had looked for health information said that they were regularly taking prescription medication.

When asked about their opinions of advertising in general, a similarly high percentage of respondents said they "agree" or "strongly agree" that there are too many ads in the media today.

Fewer consumers said they find that advertising prevents them from enjoying what they are reading, although at least half of consumers agreed with this point of view. Users of general health Web sites were more likely to find such advertising distracting, with as many as 42% indicating that they had gone so far as to install software to reduce the number of ads they see.

In a separate profile of those consumers who go online to specifically look for prescription drug information, the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 28% of 40 to 49 year olds had done so, as compared to just 8% of people who are 69 years and older, and 17% of those who are between the ages of 18 and 27.

These results should come as little surprise, since older Americans are less familiar with the Internet than their younger counterparts, while younger people are less likely to use prescription drugs. As might be expected then, people between the ages of 40 and 58 are the primary users of online prescription drug information, since they are familiar with the Internet, and most likely to have a need to access such information—whether it is for themselves, their children, or for their elderly parents.

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