As pharma increasingly explores ways of using social media, a survey carried out in Europe suggests that people looking for information about drugmakers and their products are not so enthusiastic.

That is one of the key points of the 'Cybercitizen Health Europe' study carried out by Manhattan Research, part of Decision Resources. It notes that despite heavy restrictions on direct-to-consumer advertising in the Old Continent, nearly two in five online Europeans would like to be able to learn more about prescription drugs directly from a pharmaceutical company.

The research shows that online consumers in Italy show the strongest desire to learn about drugs from the companies themselves, while their counterparts in Germany are the least likely to be interested. Additionally, certain patient groups across Europe overall, such as online users diagnosed with acute pain, osteoporosis and arrhythmia, show a higher interest in this type of information from pharma than the average citizen.

However, they want "practical online resources", such as disease and treatment information and condition management tools, rather than "online contests and games". Furthermore, Manhattan Research identified " a lack of interest in pharma on Facebook and Twitter".

Among people who are already using or are interested in online information and tools from pharmaceutical companies, only 13% want to access this content on Facebook and 5% on Twitter. In contrast, 43% of this audience would like to obtain resources from websites about conditions and diseases.

The study involved just over 3,020 adults in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.