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How does the pharmaceutical industry interact with healthcare professionals in Portugal?

The evolution of doctor-pharma interactions is marked by a fusion of digital interactions and traditional in-person engagements. Our data from 2023 reveals a notable 3.3% increase in promotional investments in Portugal, compared to 2022. Will this year bring new trends? Stay tuned for Q1 2024 data, coming out next month!

Overall, promotional investment in 2023 consisted of direct marketing, events and clinical studies. The relative weight of these three segments in the market remains consistent with 2022. Nevertheless, the key question remains: How do pharmaceutical entities enhance their presence, impact and influence within the Portuguese market? Also, what emerging patterns and obstacles do they encounter?

According to the latest data gathered by 2Logical, face-to-face (F2F) channels (personal visits and clinical sessions), not only continued to be the most widely used channels for promoting medicines and health products in Portugal, but also increased their weight in 2023 with a growth of +3.6% compared to 2022. On average, for each remote interaction there were two in-person ones. This amplified focus on F2F channels was especially impactful among general practitioners, rather than specialists, since F2F interactions account for 66% of all interactions in GP, +5.8pp than in specialities. BIAL, Menarini and Tecnimede made the Top 3 companies in terms of promotion through personal visits in 2023. In geographical terms, Porto and Lisbon stood out as the districts with the highest promotion via F2F channels, accounting for 22.3% and 14.7% of all national F2F interactions, respectively. In the opposite sense, Azores and Madeira recorded the lowest percentages of promotion through F2F channels.

In 2023, the use of digital channels such as webinars, remote visits, e-mail and Whatsapp remained consistent with the previous year. These digital channels collectively accounted for approximately 28% of all promotional channels utilized. MSD, GSK, and Pfizer made up the Top 3 companies utilizing these channels.

Focusing the narrative on the portuguese medical context, a target group that culturally continues to highly value personal contact and in-person interactions over digital in comparison with international realities, practical data corroborates the theory, since at least 21% of the doctors taking part in our promotional investment study expressed that they would have preferred the digital interaction to have been carried out through another channel, namely a personal visit.

Anaisa Esmail - Business Consultant @2Logical

In conclusion, although digital channels and personal visits can coexist, potentially reducing costs for the pharmaceutical industry, the former don't seem to be able to replace the latter entirely. Personal visits within the pharmaceutical industry continue to hold a significant advantage in building trust with doctors compared to digital interactions. The face-to-face nature of personal visits allows for a more personalized and empathetic connection, fostering deeper relationships and understanding between pharmaceutical representatives and healthcare professionals. Additionally, personal visits provide opportunities for real-time interaction and immediate response to queries, all of which contribute to building credibility and trust. On the other hand, complementing F2F with digital interactions to increase coverage and frequency guarantees companies and brands a significant increase in their Share of Voice compared to those that don't use digital, all of this at a very low cost. Even so, it should be emphasised that personal visits remain a cornerstone in the pharmaceutical industry's efforts to engage and build relationships with healthcare professionals.

Want to learn more? Reach out to us at and find out how 2Logical can customize solutions for the success of your company in Portugal.


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