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More doctors accept digital marketing since K-Sunshine Act
  • By Marian Chu
  • Published 2018.05.10 13:29
  • Updated 2018.05.10 13:29
  • comments 0

The K-Sunshine Act is leading pharmaceutical and medical device firms to opt for new marketing channels such as digital marketing. A new survey shows that Korean doctors are, for the most part, open to the change.

The K-Sunshine Act, enacted in January, outlines that pharmaceutical firms keep a paper trail of all economic benefits given to doctors and pharmacists. Records of financial benefits can include everything from giving doctors sample products to payments for participating in conferences. The Ministry of Health and Welfare can request the documents at any time.

About 74 percent of Korean doctors said they heard about the K-sunshine Act while more than half said they have since felt “difficulties” in talking with salespeople, an IQVIA survey showed.

Physicians said they were open to digital marketing as a method to gain access to new information quickly and at the preferred time without having to stop treatment, according to IQVIA.

More doctors are becoming open to different types of marketing by pharmaceutical companies, especially after the enactment of the K-Sunshine Act in January.

The survey, conducted on 195 doctors in general hospitals and clinics around the nation, showed that most doctors were familiar with digital marketing. Around 90 percent had experience participating in an online seminar and symposium, 60 percent with communicating through messaging such as texts or KakaoTalk, and 50 percent with online detailing conducted by a sales representative.

Doctors at private clinics also had more experience with digital marketing than those in general hospitals, the survey showed.

On the whole, Korean doctors were internet- and technology-savvy, with more than 70 percent of doctors having three devices that include a desktop computer, cell phone, notebook, or tablet PCs. Physicians also spent an average of 15 hours a week on the internet, with six hours used for work.

However, most said they preferred a traditional visit by a pharmaceutical sales representative for specific activities such as detailing. The survey also showed little difference in preference for whether symposiums and seminars were conducted online or offline, indicating that digital marketing should be used when appropriate.

A right mix of online and offline channels would bring the best results, IQVIA noted.


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