Future Pharma 2020

September 14 - 15, 2020

Boston Marriott Long Wharf, Boston, MA

Here's How Augmented and Virtual Reality can Help Pharmaceutical Marketers

Brought to you by WBR Insights

Augmented and virtual reality are changing the way people interact with technology. Once the stuff of entertaining novelties and science fiction stories, the technology is now finding its way into all avenues of life - including business.

Whether it's augmented reality-powered smart glasses helping field service engineers superimpose schematics over real machines or virtual reality technology allowing travelers to tour destinations before deciding whether to book a flight, this incredible tech has almost unlimited applications.

However, one arena in which the technology has yet to find a firm home is in pharmaceutical marketing and sales. This could be set to change in 2019, however, as brands are beginning to see the potential for AR and VR tech to help sell pharma products.

Augmented Reality

We've seen dozens of consumer brands using augmented reality to offer their customers unique experiences, such as cosmetics companies using AR apps to allow their audience to virtually try on different looks without having to apply the make-up to their faces. Similarly, clothing brands are installing AR-powered mirrors which offer a range of features such as enabling customers to switch the colors of clothing with a swipe of their hand.

While this technology may not immediately seem like a good fit for pharmaceutical marketing, the opposite is, in fact, true. There are lots of opportunities to use AR and VR to help patients and healthcare providers make better choices when buying medical products.

Pharmaceutical Product Visualization

When consumers are shopping in drug stores for off-the-shelf medications, the selection can often be overwhelming. With many different brands to choose from and many variants of the same medication even within those brands, customers can often be left confused and frustrated.

Choice aside, there are also many other considerations to be made when selecting an off-the-shelf medication. Consumers must be cautious about possible side effects, any dietary restrictions which may be applicable, and whether the product will react with any other medication they might be currently taking. Much of this information is often contained in a leaflet within the product packaging, making it difficult for these customers to make an informed choice.

An augmented reality-powered smartphone app or smart glasses could help with this decision-making process. By holding the smartphone camera or glasses over the product, additional information could be superimposed onto the image which helps customers better understand all the factors discussed above.

Medical Education

Another problem patients face is understanding their medical conditions. Assuming they possess no medical training themselves, a lot of the terminology and descriptions surrounding these conditions can be esoteric and confusing.

If patients can't understand the nature of their condition, it stands to reason they will also have difficulty understanding the treatment options and related products available to them.

Augmented reality can help with this again. An AR-enabled device could be held over the affected area - for a skin condition, for example - and could show them how the illness might progress and explain the associated terminology. The display could then assist with treatment by demonstrating the best way to apply ointment, dressings, or other interventions. This will help patients become more confident about their treatment, and they will look favorably upon the pharmaceutical brand which assisted in their learning.

The AR guide will also help with treatment adherence and boost clinical outcomes, which benefits both patients and healthcare providers.

Implant and Prosthetic Education

One of the most traumatic and difficult-to-process medical situations a person can face is the loss of a limb or other body part. The sense of loss and lack of control that comes with such an injury can leave people feeling a range of negative emotions. The psychological recovery from such an event can take a significant amount of time.

Virtual reality technology can help these patients take control of their recovery by helping them visualize how different prosthetic options will appear on their limb and how they will operate.

The tech can also help with physiotherapy. For example, when a patient is learning to walk again with a set of prosthetic legs, virtual reality can help immerse them in a more natural environment, helping to remove the stress and discomfort which can often be felt in a clinical setting.

Producers of prosthetic products can incorporate these services into their offerings, helping to make their interventions more attractive to sufferers of these debilitating conditions.

Final Thoughts

Augmented and virtual reality can help the manufacturers of pharmaceutical products add new experiences to their service and allow patients better understand their conditions and the treatments available to them. This will help instill confidence in the brands providing these products and boost sales as a result.


Augmented and virtual reality are set to be hot topics at Future Pharma 2019, taking place this September at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf, MA.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.