Consumers Want Drug Info From Physicians

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Web sites and e-mail are the No. 2 source of information for drug treatments after physicians, according to a consumer preference index poll by e-mail marketing and data analytics firm Prospectiv in late June.


The survey of more than 2,000 consumers showed 73 percent look to their physician as the main information source on drug treatments related to their ailments. But 14 percent took to Web sites and e-mail while 10 percent used television, radio, magazines, newspapers and books.


When asked how they wished to get information, the share of Web sites and e-mail rose to 17 percent while magazines, newspapers and books fell to 3 percent and TV and radio to 1 percent.


The survey found that 47 percent chose informational sites as their preferred online vehicle for drug information and 37 percent opted for e-mail. Ninety-two percent were likely or very likely to visit a site focused on treatments relating to their illness.


Also, 83 percent told Prospectiv, Woburn, MA, that they would be interested or very interested in receiving educational information about drug treatments.


Drug companies should note this statistic: 51 percent said free samples would spur their interest in drug treatments. Thirty-four percent said educational online newsletters were most valuable in helping them make drug-buying decisions.


The survey results are timely. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. intends to devote more resources to physician education and the Internet as part of a move to delay new-drug direct-to-consumer advertising for a year after its release. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-TN, wants all pharmaceutical marketers to double this voluntary moratorium period.


Separately, Prospectiv is working with home-delivered coupons and print ads firm ADVO Inc. to help redistribute AMBER alerts via e-mails for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. As part of the pro bono deal, the organization will send geographically targeted e-mail AMBER alerts to subscribers of www.shopwise.com, ADVO's opt-in consumer site.


The AMBER alert e-mails also drop to www.eversave.com, www.theknowledgestop.com and www.healthy-individual.com, all sites belonging to Prospectiv. The AMBER alert program, which stands for America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response and is named for a 9-year-old who was kidnapped and slain, was established in 1997.


"We had to build a 24/7, 365 days a year technology to be able to handle this for the NCMEC," Prospectiv president/CEO Jere Doyle said. "In order to do that, we took the technology we had for our clients and customized it. We already had technology to target by geography."


Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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