Why isn't pharma in the App Store?

Check out the "most popular" lists at Apple's iPhone/iPod Touch applications store, and you'll see that Health-related apps are among the top sellers. Between consumer-oriented applications and those designed for doctors and other providers, there's a vigorous variety of ways folks can harness their gadgets for health purposes.

But as Eye on FDA notes today, Big Pharma is woefully behind the times when it comes to app development. Does Pfizer have an app that reminds users to take their Lipitor, eat "good" fats, exercise daily, and so on? Does Novo Nordisk offer a carb- and calorie-tracking app for its insulin patients? Is GlaxoSmithKline using apps to help patients with depression or bipolar disorder track their moods and keep therapy journals? No, no, and no are the short answers to those questions.

The better question is, why not? The drugmaker that figures this out first could gain an--excuse us--healthy competitive edge. Customer interaction is, after all, a tried-and-true way to gain brand loyalty. "Pharmaceutical companies are light years behind, but with some innovative thought, the industry doesn't have to stay that way," Eye on FDA points out. Hear, hear.

- see the Eye on FDA post