One of the top events in the digital pharma field that we couldn’t possibly miss this year is the Digital Pharma Europe Conference (17-19 May) held at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow, London. As a sponsor, we were represented by our international team consisting of colleagues from our UK, Irish and Italian offices.

The event, which ran over three days, started off with a fast-paced “Digital Technologies and Social Innovation day”, setting a buzzy and creative atmosphere that continued until the end of the conference on Friday. The attendees were extremely engaged in the presentations, most of which were followed by long Q&A sessions.   

We heard from delegates of the top life science companies, such as Pfizer, Biogen, AstraZeneca, MSD and Eli Lilly, but there were also delegates from some great startups who also delivered outstanding presentations. The common denominator of all talks was that the digital world is shaping the way we do business in all sectors, pharma notwithstanding, and the business world in general is  moving towards a more customer-centric mindset, whilst using the latest digital technologies to test, measure and learn from  users’ real-time behaviour.

The presentation delivered by our commercial director, Andy Stafford, touched on exactly these points. “In Digital, It’s All About the Outcomes. So Let’s Focus on the User” is its title,  which highlights how it’s not about who can shout the loudest to get his message across in the digital world, but who offers the greatest value, as defined by the customer.

The most innovative pharma companies are already experimenting with state-of-the-art  technologies such as chatbots to engage with both patients and HCPs. On this topic, Guy Shauli, Global Director, Social Media, AstraZeneca UK presented a case study “Chatbots — Real opportunity or just a buzzword?”. This tool, he says, enables honest dialogue with the audience, but also allows patients to ask questions they might otherwise feel embarrassed to ask their doctors. Chatbots are a good fit for the sector in that they adhere to pre-approved responses that can be tailored to pharma’s strict compliance mandates.

Another hot topic at the conference was healthcare’s embracing the digital shift from desktop to mobile. It’s estimated that over 50% of digital interactions in general  take place via mobile, and that on average we reach for our phones over 200 times a day! Many of the speakers stressed how important a  mobile-first website is, as it allows patients and HCPs alike to research information on the go. There was a sense throughout the conference that pharma companies are beginning to adapt, responding to customer expectations whilst achieving business’ goals.

The three days brought together more than 200 life science industry marketers, and it was a great way to share ideas and discuss the challenges that arise in this constantly evolving, digital marketing world.

We came back to our office full of insights and happy to have met so many great attendees. Unfortunately, it was difficult to speak to everyone, so if you want to get in touch to know more about our services or to have a chat about how we can help you achieve your commercial  goals, please email us at

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