Digital Marketing to Physicians: Policy Lags Behind Practice
In a Perspective in today’s New England Journal of Medicine, David Grande, LDI's Co-Director of Health Policy, and colleagues write about new digital forms of pharmaceutical and medical device marketing to physicians. The same technologies that can be used to support clinical practice—such as electronic health records, social media, and mobile applications—can also be used to conduct market research and to market directly to physicians. Grande and colleagues write:
Digital technology is changing the nature of marketing, and policies intended to limit its influence are lagging behind. But the medical profession can enact policies to ensure that patients, not advertising, remain the focus of care.
They recommend more clarity and transparency in marketing efforts (about the data being collected and their use), more physician caution in interacting online (similar to the caution used with sales representatives offline), and professional guidelines that call for firewalls to keep marketing out of patient visits. It's a valuable perspective.