PharmExec Blog

Patient Power Proves Positive

Market research firm Synovate yesterday released the results of its global survey designed to figure out what people really think about healthcare. The firm interviewed 9,642 people in 12 countries, including Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, India, Malaysia, Netherlands, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey and the United States.

Here are few factoids gleaned from the data:

• In India, 62 percent of patients come to their doctor already prepared with a diagnosis.
• 59 percent of Canadians believe that the doctor is “just one of several sources who influence my healthcare decisions.”
• One in 10 respondents agreed that their doctor is “the person who simply prescribes the medication I request.”
• 82 percent of Malaysians stated that they would only take the medication prescribed by their doctor if backed up by other research.
• 18 percent of Germans said that they see their doctor less than they used to, because they can often find out what they need to know on the Internet.

Bob Douglas, Synovate Healthcare’s managing director of global custom research, told <i>Pharm Exec<i> that the United States, with its legal direct-to-consumer advertising, shows greater awareness of pharma company products, symptoms, and treatments. In some countries, pharma companies have set up communities where patients can obtain medical advice. “I still think that’s relatively uncommon, and patients will continue to go to physician for information,” Douglas said.

When patients do visit the doctor these days, they come armed with the latest clinical trials and information about drugs—a big change from just a few years back. “I think the patient/doctor dynamic is changing significantly, and it has to be more about dialogue with consumers,” Douglas said. “There’s a lot of pressure on healthcare systems—other healthcare professionals are increasing the amount of information-giving.”

The report suggests that in different countries different stakeholders are playing doctor. For example, nurses can prescribe medicine in some countries (and in certain clinical areas, such as diabetes, where delivery is important). In England and Canada there is a shortage of physicians, and the pharmacist is taking a role on the front line, treating patients and giving medical advice, Douglas said.

The study notes that consumers see the therapeutic benefits of pharma products over alternative forms of medicine, even in countries such as India, where herbal remedies are prevalent.

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One Comment

  1. Posted June 11, 2008 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    George, i was curious to know if you were able to figure out what the survey meant when it said that “In India, 62 percent of patients come to their doctor already prepared with a diagnosis.”
    Was it referring to a family physician or a specialist? Is it suggesting that patients self-diagnosed themselves before visiting the doctor?

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