Digital diabetes mavens Novo Nordisk and Sanofi top new patient experience ranking

Woman typing on computer
The online experiences for Type 2 diabetes patients vary across pharma companies and brands, according to a new DRG Digital study. (Max Pixel)

Novo Nordisk and Sanofi deliver some of the world's top-selling diabetes drugs, and they also deliver the best online experiences for Type 2 diabetes patients, according to new research. That's the verdict from DRG Digital, which took a deep dive into the websites, patient support, apps and social profiles of six pharma companies to find out where patients were getting the best user experiences.

Novo and Sanofi stood out from the crowd—which also included Merck, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson—for content and asset integrations, Rory Stanton, DRG director of patient research, said. Another flourishing digital area for makers of diabetes drugs was around product info on websites, where Novo brands Novolog and Victoza, Lilly's Trulicity and Merck's Januvia all did well in information display and pull through. But pharma's social media efforts when it came to Type 2 diabetes were less successful; most of the companies are “underperforming” in the area, Stanton said.

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DRG’s assessment comes with advice for pharma companies, though. It suggests that pharma work to integrate digital assets seamlessly across platforms, personalize patient support, and create deeper engagement with patients by using automated tools and interactive content.

Another way pharma companies can up their digital diabetes game? Work to connect with patients emotionally. DRG research shows that 35% of patients would stay on a pharma website longer if there were videos of other patients to watch, Stanton said. Not including those kinds of videos is a missed opportunity.

DRG undertook the study to create a benchmark for pharma companies in assessing their own digital assets and in looking at the overall competitive scene in Type 2 diabetes. It’s the first in a planned series, with future studies set to delve into other therapeutic categories in a similar way, Matt Arnold, principal analyst at DRG, said.

Both Arnold and Stanton said that while the study uncovered what pharma is doing right and what it could do better, it also showed that there's still lots of opportunity for digital engagement with Type 2 diabetes patients.

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“The brands that have doubled down in the area, there’s no surprise they’re at the top, but that’s not to say other brands can’t catch some opportunities in digital by augmenting their experiences and adding to their competencies," Stanton said.

Arnold added that diabetes is an interesting category “because it serves as a proving ground for a lot of pharma digital marketing. I’m speaking off the top of my head, but I think because it’s a large established category and there is obvious unmet need there for patients, there’s a lot that can be done to add value for patients and physicians.”