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Italy – In love with food, less with medicines

Anyone who has never Googled their symptoms– raise your hands.

By now it is a known fact: people like to open their favourite search engine and look for answers before calling on the doctor. Every day, at all hours, a multitude asks the internet for advices on the best skin care or the best therapy to cure a disease; but what if there was no one answering on the other side?

The problem arises when on the other side, amidst the oceans of available content, we cannot find an authoritative opinion on medicines and OTC drugs.

The purpose of our research is, therefore, to understand if there truly is an adequate match between the request for information on health topics and the subsequent online offer from pharmaceutical brands and entities. With this purpose in mind, we examined conversations concerning seven main health topics, and compared them with specific keywords related to medicines in order to verify the influence of companies, brands and the pharma world on those topics.

Respiratory complications are the 3rd cause of death among the Italian population (Source: Italian Ministry of Health). Moreover, the incidence of some forms of allergy such as asthma, rhinitis and atopic dermatitis has doubled or tripled in the last decades.

Notwithstanding this incidence data, our research shows that the favourite online topic among Italians is food, while respiratory complications is the one that shows the lowest amount of posts and interactions.

It is no surprise to see food at the top of the chart, but it’s certainly surprising that there is such little dialogue about a problem that affects a large portion of the Italian population, medical institutes and the pharmaceutical world.

[November 2017]


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