Merck tests women-focused health website in Mexico

MEXICO CITY: Pharmaceutical giant Merck is determining whether to widen the scope of a recently launched website to target women in Latin American countries outside of Mexico.

MEXICO CITY: Pharmaceutical giant Merck is determining whether to widen the scope of a recently launched website to target women in Latin American countries outside of Mexico.

Estarbienmujer.com features information on conditions such as depression, cancer, asthma, and allergies, among several others. The site is targeting women specifically in Mexico as part of its pilot phase.

Statistics show that women are most responsible for other people's health in the region, said Veronica Trulin, director of regional communications in Latin America and Brazil at Merck. Depending on the success of the site, the pharma company could widen the reach of the portal to other countries.

“There's nothing regarding a specific medication. This site engages people with basic information that will help them take better care of themselves and their families,” Trulin said.

To promote the portal, Merck hosted a media event featuring a panel of health experts. It is also distributing materials with the site's information at Ob-Gyn offices, pharmacies, and supermarkets, and conducting media outreach with the goal of reaching women, especially those in care-giving or parenting roles.

In the future, the company may distribute information through nursing schools, Trulin said.

On the social media front, the campaign is relying heavily on Twitter.

“If you follow us on Twitter, you're going to get pieces of relevant information that will trigger the need to learn about a particular topic for a better informed discussion with the healthcare provider.”

So far, Merck is pleased with the response to the site. In the five weeks since it launched, its Twitter account has gained about 950 Twitter followers and 2,000 unique visitors.

GCI Health and Cohn & Wolfe's Mexico City office are working with Merck on the project. Representatives from Cohn & Wolfe did not return a request for comment.

"Knowing that research from the Pew Institute has shown that as many as 60% of people looking for health information on the internet are women, we were excited to devise a digital strategy to match the previously unmet online healthcare information needs of women in Mexico," said Wendy Lund, CEO of GCI Health.

GCI Health is also working with Merck on the recently launched “Taking Diabetes to Heart” campaign.

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