Brave new world of digital pharma marketing has privacy advocates balking
- Pharma is fine-tuning its online advertising by working with third-party vendors, which link patients, prescription-drug records, and Web ads. .
- Using this method, personal identity is protected, because patients are assigned unique numerical codes—therefore it does not violate confidentiality protocols.
- However, watchdogs and consumer groups groups are unhappy about this practice because they feel that it treats health data and health-related purchases as everyday commodities.
Medical data analytics is a thriving business that is expected to surpass the $10 billion mark by 2020. It is also one of the critical pieces of the digital marketing revolution for pharma companies and other types of companies involved in healthcare and marketing.
While the people involved in the industry emphasize that patient privacy is protected, other groups, such as the Center for Digital Democracy, decry the practice saying that patient privacy is at risk. But in many ways, the point is moot: Whether or not this is a form of surveillance, fair digital targeting, or outright invasion of privacy, targeted digital marketing is likely here to stay. But new legislation may be required to make sure that patient privacy is not at risk as this field continues to develop.