A new study by D Yellow Elephant said that majority of Indian pharma companies, both multinational and domestic, are yet to exploit the huge opportunities offered on various digital platforms to connect with their stakeholders effectively.
Titled 'Indian Pharma Digital Health Report 2015', the study analyzed 40 pharmaceutical companies in the country across 10 key digital parameters ranging across websites, applications and 10 major social media platforms.
The study revealed that only nine out of 40 -- less than 25 percent -- managed above 50 out of 100 on these counts.
While LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform, only 14 companies, barely 35 percent, were active on it.
Google+ notched a high presence of 87 percent but only one out of 40 companies was found active on it.
As far as India-specific Facebook is concerned, only eight out of 40, or 20 percent fell in this category, 12 had a Blogger presence, and other platforms like Slideshare, Instagram and Vine are used by less than 20 percent.
D Yellow Elephant managing director Aman Gupta said that in view of this data, Indian pharma sector -- whether Indian companies or global players, lag behind their international counterparts by at least 5-7 years.
If compared to other sectors, the time lag could be around 10 years or so, he said.
"Ironically, some of these same companies abroad are seen to be proactively using digital platforms to engage with health care professionals (HCPs) and patients," Gupta said.
The firm's digital strategy lead Chandni Dalal said that the findings show the reluctance of the pharma companies to effectively engage with their stakeholders on the digi-platforms.
The duo explained that the report is an attempt "to help the pharmaceutical sector entities in India catch up on the time gap, identify the loopholes and help them incorporate digital medium in the decision making process."
It also help underline opportunities that exist and outline a roadmap for these pharma companies to engage better with the HCPs and the patient communities, given the advent of smartphones across geographical locations.
"It is high time that this potential is realized. What better way than effectively use these platforms to bridge the gap to healthcare access in a country like ours," Dalal said.
On the positive side, Indian pharma companies are venturing onto the digital highway but only 30 percent have an India-specific website.
"In the age of quantified self, Indian patients and HCPs are exhibiting an expectations market, with the advent of digital health, big data and dialogue exchange; Indian pharma has long stayed behind the curve on social media," said Gupta.