Leveraging Design Thinking for Pharmaceutical Digital Marketing
School of Management Science, Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, Nonthaburi, Thailand
Worldwide, the time spent online and in digital media has been increasing, thus becoming the primary source of health and medical information. This phenomenon is driving all business, including the pharmaceutical industry, in gearing toward digital marketing strategies. Developing countries like Thailand still extend existing laws to regulate digital media despite the differences with traditional media, and consumers face the risks of buying drugs illegally and products that overclaim despite stringent pre-approval regulations on drug marketing. This study utilizes design thinking as a human-centric research method to propose appropriate and practical digital marketing guidelines for the pharmaceutical industry, using 53 informants. The problems were that consumers face persuasive risks and the need for reliable sources of drug information. The current regulatory process places a high burden on regulators and the laws that enforce it. However, several new digital strategies such as unbranded information and targeted marketing are not covered by existing laws. Regulations on teleconsultation are also needed, but no legislation currently exists for such activities. And finally, experts have articulated four domains as follows: e-Regulations, e-Information sources, and e-Consultation to provide easy access to professionals, and e-Ethics, a supportive mechanism toward ethical drug marketing.
Keywords: Design Thinking; Pharmaceutical Business; Digital Marketing; Information Seeking; Humanistic Marketing; Thai Regulatory.