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Connecting the Dots: How the pharmaceutical industry is interacting with healthcare professionals in Italy

2024 is here and, as we embark the new year, we'd like to take a look back at 2023 and explore the interactions between the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare professionals, specifically in the Italian market.



It's no secret that the landscape of doctor-pharma interactions is undergoing a transformation, fueled by a surge in digital channels and good old-fashioned face-to-face visits. According to 2023 figures, promotional investment in Italy grew 4.6% in 2023, compared to 2022. But how are pharmaceutical companies managing to increase their reach and influence in the Italian market? And what are the trends and challenges that they face? Let's break down how Italy's pharmaceutical game is leveling up in the digital age.



The increase of digital and personal interactions

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted companies to adapt their approaches and leverage digital channels more effectively. One of the main reasons for growth of promotional investment in Italy is the increase of both digital and personal interactions between pharmaceutical companies and doctors, but it is also evident that there's a deliberate effort by these companies to strike a balance between personal and digital engagements.


According to the latest data gathered by 2Logical, personal visits account for about half of the total interactions, while digital channels account for more than 30%. Similar to other southern European countries, such as Spain and Portugal, doctors in Italy consider personal visits as their preferred channel, especially among general practitioners, rather than by specialists. This type of interactions (which grew 3.1%) also highlights a significant increase of interactions carried out by the medical departments of the companies compared to 2022. Another interesting aspect of personal visits’ records is that they show a slightly higher growth in hospital specialties such as Oncology, Immunology and Neurology.

 


An example: Multiple Sclerosis in Neurology

Within the area of Neurology, we highlight Multiple Sclerosis as an example. This area shows a slightly different behavior from the average of the market. Firstly, the weight of personal visits makes up for more than the average which, consequently, provides digital channels with fewer interactions.


Additionally, when compared to 2022, leading products/brands with higher SOV (Share of Voice) have shifted in different segments - All channels, personal visits and digital channels. For example, Tysabri led this rank in two of these segments in 2022, but in 2023 it didn’t achieve any. As to the interactions carried out by MSL (medical science liaison), they are in line with the previous year and channels such as “Clinical meetings”, “Remote visits” and “Whatsapp” are the ones that grow the most in evaluation of their quality.

 

 
Chiara Rinaldi - Global Account Executive @2Logical

This data shows that the pharmaceutical industry, which has traditionally relied on personal interactions, is adjusting, and embracing the digital realm. However, it isn’t abandoning personal interactions, which is a smart move, since doctors still value the human connection and the trust that arises from these interactions. Digital channels can also complement and enhance personal visits, but they don’t seem to be able to replace them entirely. 


It is also evident that the pharmaceutical industry is investing more in the areas with the most potential and demand, such as hospital specialties and chronic diseases’ specialists. That makes sense since these are the areas that require more innovative solutions.


I also believe that there are some challenges and risks that the pharmaceutical industry needs to be aware of. For example, how to ensure the quality and security of digital interactions, especially when dealing with sensitive and confidential information. How to balance the frequency and intensity of the interactions, without overwhelming or annoying the doctors. How to measure the effectiveness and impact of the interactions, both in terms of awareness and sales.


Want to learn more? Reach out to us at info@2logical.net and find out how 2Logical can tailor solutions to your company's specific needs in Italy.

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