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Marketing and Providing Health Information Via E-mail - Less is More?

E-mail communication is now recognised as one of the fastest growing activities around the world. Many pharmaceutical companies, forever pioneering and positive, are currently exploring, evolving, reshaping and developing a variety of ideas on how to better use e-mail internally. Thinking outside their box, a key challenge for pharmaceutical companies over the next five years will be how to design, develop, deliver and maintain efficient, effective and legitimate e-mail links with contacts outside the company.

There are some shimmers of light emerging from the regulatory clouds, as demonstrated by the European Commission's proposals to allow pharmaceutical companies to provide more information to European patients with AIDS, asthma or diabetes in a five-year pilot exercise. According to Erkki Liikanen (Member of the European Commission responsible for Enterprise and Information Society)'s spokesman, while the exercise is supposed to improve the level and quality of information relating to certain drugs and address the imbalance in information for those without access to the Internet rather than those with access, the opportunities presented by e-mail should not be ignored. E-mail can be so effective.

While e-mail customer relation management (e-CRM) has picked up in industries such as banking, insurance, holidays and travel, it is in the realms of health care that e-CRM has truly great potential. This is for two reasons: the growing number of people online, and the growing interest in health care and health information.


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By Alan Slater, Freelance International Consultant in Pharmaceutical e-CRM

Alan Slater has recently worked in the department of medicine at University College London, the health services management centre at the University of Birmingham, and at other universities in the UK. He has also taught in medical schools in India and Africa.

His main interests lie in developments in pharma markets, including regulation, marketing and customer relationship management, as well as research methods and research management. Alan advises governments, pharma companies, health care buyers, and patient groups across the world on the above areas of interest. He travels extensively to provide expertise in tackling and pre-empting pharma customer relationship management issues.

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Alan Slater
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