Nearly one month ago, iMedicalApps took a closer look at how pharmaceutical companies were driving production of our favorite apps, including Epocrates. Through services like DocAlert, Virtual Representative, sponsored disease-specific resources, and more, pharmaceutical companies are redirecting their large marketing budgets to the medical app world.
And while this trend certainly isn’t limited to Epocrates, they were highlighted yesterday in the New York Times . In the article, the concern for pharmaceutical companies influencing prescribing practices is apparent, particularly as the article highlights claims from Epocrates that services like DocAlert increase revenues for pharmaceutical companies.
Unfortunately, thats where the article stops. It fails to delve into why this is the case – why one of the most popular medical apps is largely pharmaceutical financed.
The answers are simple:
1. It costs money to develop and maintain medical apps, especially ones that contain large databases and repositories of medical information that are dynamic and often changing.
2. The pharmaceutical industry is hungry for the attention of doctors, who individually wield enormous economic power by their prescribing habits. While the article seems to lament this fact, it fails to acknowledge the underlying issue – if we want to have resources like Epocrates be free of pharmaceutical influence, then ultimately that means that we, providers and patients alike, will have to pay for it.