The pharma market has always been cash-rich, as it needs to be given the investment required to continue the research and development behind the medical advances which have made such a difference to humanity. Nonetheless increasing pressure from regulators, thin pipelines and the patent cliff which has seen the rise of generics is a threat to continued prosperity. Innovative business models will help pharmaceutical manufacturers to remain competitive amidst these challenges.
Pharma companies should understand that mobile applications are an innovation area that matters. research2guidance presents 8 good reasons why smartphone apps matter to pharma:
1. Potential reach: Today the smartphone and mHealth markets are still small, but enormous growth rates will enable pharma companies to reach out to every 5th citizen on earth in 2015.
2. Differentiation: The potential for smartphone apps to support patient adherence and compliance makes them the ideal add-on for pharmaceutical products. Therapy supporting pharma applications for example will not only be providing a service, they will also differentiate their products from those offered by the competition.
3. Facilitate improved outcomes for patients taking the company's drugs: The success of a therapy is dependent upon correct compliance. Mobile applications provide the opportunity for pharmaceutical manufacturers to support patients by supplying applications that assist patients in achieving compliance, thereby improving patient outcomes.
4. Contemporary marketing: Physicians are already using smartphones and tablets to access healthcare related information. For pharmaceutical companies it would make sense to re-allocate marketing budgets spent on printed medical reference and CME programs to applications. They cost a fraction of what printed materials cost, are more innovative, represent a real value of less than $5, and fit into the regulatory framework in even the strictest systems.
5. Learn how patients use their medicine: Mobile applications offer a direct channel of communication between the manufacturer of a pharmaceutical product and the patient. Applications provide direct usage information, which can assist in understanding the usage habits of patients.
6. Saving costs: Smartphone apps have the potential to offer various cost-saving areas for pharmaceutical companies. Examples would be applications that support the exchange of results in medical trials, information on customers that would be useful to review before meeting with them, etc.
7. Improve relations with doctors: Apps are very personal tools, more so than websites of medical books. Visiting doctors is an essential but expensive aspect of pharma marketing, and the opportunity to connect directly with physicians by providing a useful app would be a good way to create new relationships with prescribing healthcare professionals.
8. Increasing revenue: Some mHealth solutions (like "patient monitoring" applications) might become the block-busters of the future, selling millions for a subscription of $10-$20 per month, even with the price for mHealth apps at between $5 and $10.
Please see research2guidance's Mobile Health Market Report 2010-2015 for more details and a detailed discussion on business opportunities for Pharma companies based on the new smartphone based mHealth market model.
research2guidance is a Berlin-based market research company specialized in the mobile industry. The company's service offerings include comprehensive market studies, as well as bespoke research and consultancy. For more information, visit www.research2guidance.com.