POLITICS & ECONOMICS PO ITICS & EC NOMICS
Source: iStock (J614)
By Piers Ford
>> Pharma companies must be scratching their
heads at their inability to gain a more emphatic
presence on the mHealth app landscape. But as the
latest research reveals, strategic shortcomings and
a lack of vision are holding them back in a market
which should have great potential.
Despite the resources they have
to invest in proactive development
strategies, few pharma companies have
emerged as major contenders in this
rapidly growing market – an important sub-section of a global mHealth
market, which will be worth $21.5bn
by 2018 according to BCC Research’s
Mobile Health Technologies and Global
Markets, 2014 report.
But a closer look at the landscape
suggests that most pharmaceuticals
struggle when it comes to seizing the
initiative at the patient end of the
market. For example, Sanofi Aventis
has achieved a degree of success with
its mobile diabetes apps, which have
been downloaded by up to 80% of its
target private users, according
But the mobile research organisation also estimates that just 1.2% of
diabetes patients worldwide have an
app to help them manage their condition on their smartphone. The market
is ripe for exploitation.
WHERE ARE THE PHARMAS?
There are more than one million
mHealth apps listed in online app
stores, according to Visiongain, but the
business intelligence specialist’s list of
ten leading companies is dominated by
the likes of Apple, Nike, Vodafone and
Cardionet – and does not contain
a single pharma giant.
It is not for the lack of trying.
According to research2guidance’s
recent Pharma App Benchmarking 2014
report, the major pharmas each have
an average of 60 mHealth apps available from the Apple App Store and
That compares with just one or two
releases each from typical mHealth
app publishers, and suggests that in
general, the pharmas’ emphasis is on
quantity rather than long-term development. Their release rate might look
impressive but while leading pharmas
What do you think?
What do you see as the key factors in achieving success with