Large parts of the public don’t trust materials from pharmaceutical companies

Why that’s an opportunity for pharma brands, according to research from agency Three Whiskey.

Significant numbers of people across age groups don't trust materials from pharma companies. (Photo credit: Getty Images).
Significant numbers of people across age groups don't trust materials from pharma companies. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

DALLAS: One marketing agency’s study on attitudes about materials provided by pharmaceutical companies revealed a surprising finding about millennial and Gen Z healthcare providers.

The study from Dallas-based performance marketing agency Three Whiskey revealed that among primary care physicians, specialists and other providers, 42% of those in Generation Z and 26% of millennials don’t trust pharma materials that are targeted at patients.

The other perhaps more surprising finding was that the millennial providers’ preferred format for pharmaceutical materials are printable leaflets rather than websites, PDFs or smartphone apps. 

Many respondents across age groups were also undecided about whether they trust materials from pharmaceutical companies, with 42% of millennial providers and 43% of baby boomers saying they are unsure. 

“That represents a huge opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to do something different so they can build trusted relationships,” said Ben Myall, CEO of the U.S. division of Three Whiskey, whose clients include pharma companies Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim.

To conduct the survey, Three Whiskeys used Google Surveys to connect with providers and received more than 700 responses, according to the company. 

Myall attributed the providers’ preference for print rather than digital material to the fact that when talking to a patient during a visit, “a doctor wants to reach for something and hand it to someone in the moment.”

When asked what three topics are most important to include in materials for patients, 23% of the respondents said treatment options; 18% said drug information; and another 18% said disease management support.

Thirty-five percent of respondents said they learn about pharmaceutical companies’ materials from colleagues; 30% cited the materials from Google; and 19% said they learn about the materials from patients themselves.

“The aim of this research is to provide a tool that enables pharmaceutical and any other medical device organization or anyone else in the business of producing patient resources to do it more effectively,” said Myall. “I do see this as part of a paradigm shift that I have witnessed over the past 10 years in terms of pharmaceutical companies who have strived to work more closely with [providers] to produce resources that are going to have more impact."

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