The webinar on “Role of Digital Marketing in the Pharmaceutical Sector” by Dr Manoj Kumar, Senior Vice President and Strategic Business Unit Head with INTAS/Accord Pharmaceuticals was organized by the School of Business and Management (BBA) at CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Pune Lavasa Campus on 16th December 2021.  The guest speaker, Dr Manoj Kumar, endorsed the impact and relevance of digital marketing in the Indian pharmaceutical industry with specific relevance to super-specialists.

As doctors may not be available everywhere due to infrastructure and geographical constraints, digital consultancy showed a new way of a career in the pharmaceutical sector during COVID times

The pandemic was the time when healthcare workers were praised and called superheroes. We realized how pharmaceutical companies had a big role in this too. From the production of life-saving medicines to covid vaccines, they did it all. But what we do not realize is that marketing had a big role to play in all of this. In the old days, marketing by pharma companies was done mostly by pharma professionals who went from clinic to clinic with heavy bags on their shoulders, marketing their products. Marketing now has evolved past this, and digital marketing has taken its place. But the question is how aware are our doctors about digital innovations?

The guest speaker shared from his research that 54.31% of super-specialty doctors connect to digital platforms for knowledge update, through journals and articles. Nearly 89.1% are looking forward to using the digital platform, which would generate real-world data and help doctors publish their learnings and share it for critical case management. We do not need to create a different infrastructure to market digitally as we can tap into the already created infrastructure of social media which is used by 60% of super-specialty doctors who generally use it to connect to their friends and family and a huge 76.39% are using google to answer questions related to people's health problems. In reality, doctors are well accustomed to using digital platforms. Through the research, it was even concluded that doctors prefer digital means of connecting with pharma professionals rather than physically interacting with them. This is creating a disconnect in the average time spent between doctors and pharma professionals and anyone who wants to enter this industry. There is a need to focus on how to make this interaction fast and frequent.

In pharmaceutical marketing we learn that one size does not fit all, as pharma marketing is quite complex and takes either of the two paths, Direct to Consumer and Direct to Provider. Marketing professionals do not differentiate between these two and go for both, which is decreasing their reach and not letting them reach their potential. As a pharmaceutical company, you need to differentiate yourself from others to penetrate the market and increase your customer base.

As a customer, we can find the same type of medicine from other companies, then what makes you different from others? Do you put your customer first? This is one of the most important aspects of pharmaceutical marketing, one needs to learn to adopt digital innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI), Machine learning (ML), Big Data. The way forward is going PHYGITAL, which is a mix of digital innovation, physical interaction, and other physical elements. The adoption of true multichannel that is E-Pharmacy is right around the corner, which would include online consultations and online sale of medicines, and this is a huge market that is predicted to grow at a humungous rate. Speaker used AIDA Model to discuss the marketer’s role in healthcare, branding, and marketing.

Digital Innovations would facilitate in expanding the role of the pharmacist from medical record management to electronic healthcare records, all of this would enhance the prescribing power of medical professionals. This would help doctors understand the health issues of their patients at a deeper level. The patient would put data online hence helping in research of diseases and finding their effective cures.

To conclude, the guest speaker shared that, we now have understood how digital innovations in the form of E-Pharmacy and Telemedicine are helpful to bridge the gap in healthcare. We need to learn many skillsets such as understanding digital marketing, AI, ML, SEO, etc. These innovations will put the patients at the Centre of their data ecosystem ensuring a healthier future for all. Overall, it was a very useful and informative session.


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