‘The Other DTC’: How Well Do Pharma Websites Communicate Important Health and Safety Information, and How Much Work Are Patients Willing to Do to Find it?

Michael Polster, Ph.D.

TV ads are, by far, the most expensive and most talked-about form of DTC, but company websites are the staple for many more companies and brands – and one place where consumers are likely to go after they’ve been exposed to a drug on TV or in the MD’s office. 

In a recently published study based on collaborative research funded by a consortium of major pharmaceutical companies, we examined attention to, and recall of, Important Health and Safety Information (ISI) when presented using four different formats in a mock website for a fictitious drug.  Roughly 4 in 10 patients who made the effort to view ISI subsequently recognized all 12 pieces of information listed, regardless of the format in which it was presented. The study suggests, however, that website format has a significant impact on whether consumers ultimately see it.  More than 80% of patients scroll to find it but fewer than half click on links that lead to ISI.  Notably, the effect is broadly similar for patients who access websites via computers or smartphones.   For more information, see article in Therapeutic Innovation & Regulatory Science,  Assessing Recall and Recognition for Important Safety Information in Digital Promotion for Pharmaceutical Products: Implications for Website Design.

Author: Michael Polster, Ph.D.

 

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