Developing Pharma apps: Why medical companies should change their approach

Pharma Apps: The current scenario


Health and fitness apps have been gaining a significant amount of popularity over the last 2 years. This is mostly due to the rise in smartphones and mobile app stores. A steady growth in wearable tech is also a contributing factor to the scenario. With passage of time, the health and fitness app industry is only going to peak higher. But if you take a closer look at the current situation, you will notice that it is mostly tech companies and not the Pharmaceutical experts who have gained the most from healthcare or pharma app based industries. So what is keeping the Pharmaceutical giants from leveraging this powerful platform?


There are quite a few quality mobile pharma apps available from enterprises such as Novartis, Merck, Pfizer, Abbott and several other major players but only a few of them have been able to attract consumers in full capacity. The reason lies in a lack of strategy or in applying the incorrect one altogether. What most Pharma companies attempt is to promote their offerings or create app based products for medical training purposes. But there are other angles that these companies seem to miss out in their application. We are going to look at 4 major factors that could change people’s perspective towards these pharma apps.

1.  A health app for chronic diseases

A large fraction of people are constantly suffering from genetic, autoimmune, metabolic or other severe diseases that require living under strict guidelines. Regular supervision is also a much needed point in the lives of these people. Software companies have created many apps that take care of such problems. Considering their expertise, it is much more favorable for medical companies to create pharma apps that address said issues for patients. Since these healthcare giants already have the reputation, people will trust in their product much more than the ones offered by tech companies.

2.  Free healthcare clinics and hospital locators

A significant part of our population still suffer from the inability to pay for healthcare. Pharma companies can utilize this issue and create a solid mobile app that takes care of a real problem. The app can alert people by notifying them of free checkups for specific ailments, schedule appointments and remind them hours before schedule. Lending an actual helping hand can also become a convincing way of promoting your brand to people.

3.  Social network connecting patients

Several diseases such as MS, ALS and such have no proper cure and challenges patients to face a lifelong struggle to cope with. Healthcare or pharma companies should create an app based social networking service that connects patients with similar ailments with one another. This will let experienced patients assist each other in controlling their condition while conducting day to day activities. Pharma companies should take cue from services such as patientslikeme, that is already exploring this niche market.

4.  Cross checking patient prescriptions

Pharma companies should create mobile apps that record patient info. When the concerned person buys prescribed drugs for another ailment they should be able to scan them and be warned of allergies/ reactions that can occur when multiple medications clash with one another. This can promote both the product and the brand name gathering a massive following from the patient crowd. Apps such as PocketPharmacist and My Medications do a stellar job of real time guidance for patients taking medications for multiple ailments.

The Verdict

With the advancements in medicinal drugs, the competition between pharmaceutical companies keep getting fierce. Every company is trying to make the most out mobile apps and the popularity of app stores. There is nothing wrong in the approach except for the fact that you need to keep the patient’s need before yours. Since mobile software companies are already utilizing this area quite well, market leaders from both the mentioned industries should combine their minds to form an ideal mobile app alliance.
Coupled with the right technical expertise, pharmaceutical corporations can develop mobile apps that strike a right balance between promotional value and a human touch.

Swarnendu De

Swarnendu is the Co-founder and Lead architect at Innofied. For the last seven years, he has been working with numerous JavaScript technologies including Backbone.js, Node.js, ExtJS, Sencha, and so on, and has developed more than 50 complex JavaScript-based applications thus far. He is the author of the book Backbone.js Patterns and Best Practices. Swarnendu regularly writes at his personal blog, Innofied Blog, the Tuts+ network, and provides support and assistance for JavaScript, Sencha and much more around the web. You can reach him through his website at or via Twitter at @swarnendude