Pharma’s Use …

Pharma’s Use of Infographics

By Eileen O’Brien

In the past year, the use of infographics has exploded. In fact, there are entire websites and search engines devoted to them. If you aren’t sure what I mean by the term “infographic,” I’m referring to graphically interesting representations of data. Ideally, infographics (short for information graphics) present complex information in an easy-to-understand visual format. If you’d like to learn more, here’s a post on the history of infographics.

Nonprofit organizations have used infographics to increase awareness of diseases ranging from pancreatic cancer to lupus. I also found a lot of interactive agencies, design companies and newspapers creating wonderful infographics to explain health topics. The FDA even uses them. Here’s one explaining cholesterol and another on understanding generic drugs. But I only found one pharmaceutical company using them.

After a general search for pharma and infographics, I searched a few diseases where the industry has funded a lot of advertising and education: high cholesterol, diabetes and insomnia. I was surprised that the only company I could find utilizing infographics was Sanofi. They used the tool to nice effect for diabetes awareness and to highlight women pioneers in diabetes.

What prompted this search was the recent creation for our client, Lundbeck, of an infographic on acute intermittent porphyria (AIP). This rare disease is called “the little imitator” because so many of its symptoms resemble those of many common conditions. Many AIP patients are misdiagnosed, and increasing awareness about this disease is essential. I may be biased since I work with the team that designed it, but I feel this infographic expresses the key points in a way that’s appealing to the target patient audience. I think that using infographics for disease education is a great tactic for biopharma companies. They can help patients and families understand complex medical conditions and are also easy to share.

Perfect for Pinterest
Infographics are perfect for sharing on the new social network Pinterest. In fact, Craig DeLarge from Novo Nordisk talks about this topic in this blog post, “Do you need an infographics strategy?” He writes, “More of our website content might be consumed more regularly and intently, if designed in more interesting infographic formats, versus the prose/image approach that is the current fashion.” Infographics could be used by biopharma companies for a variety of communications–for example, an infographic to explain the issue of counterfeit drugs. As the title suggests, DeLarge recommends taking a strategic approach to the tool. Novo Nordisk is using Pinterest but, as of today, they don’t have any infographics pinned to their board. Neither does Bayer’s Pinterest board.

Did I miss other pharma companies using infographics? I have a feeling there are some out there, so please comment below if you have an example.


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