For a growing number of Americans, the Internet is the primary marketing medium convincing them to ask their doctors for brand name prescriptions, according to Cyber Dialogue, an Internet researcher. Since the majority of pharmaceutical direct-to-consumer spending is devoted to TV and print, the findings are likely to act as a wake-up call to pharmaceutical marketers because they suggest not only an opportunity to drive prescription sales but also a chance to increase marketing return on investment. In 1998, pharmaceutical companies spent less than 1% of their marketing dollars on the Internet. According to Cyber Dialogue's findings, of the 10 million Americans now searching for pharmaceutical information online, 3.4 million have asked for a prescription from their doctor. Of this number, 15% said they learned about a requested drug through the Internet, compared with 9% through TV spots and only 5% through print ads. The findings are based on in-depth interviews with more than 2,700 U.S. adults in July 1999.
Copyright November 1999, Crain Communications Inc.