Sixty-six percent of all pharma app downloads in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany, were downloads of the top 10 apps according to an infographic recently released by German app company SmartPatient (not to be confused with Roni Zeiger-founded online patient community SmartPatients). SmartPatient's iOS and Android app is called MyTherapy.
The Munich-based company analyzed 359 apps from 20 pharma companies: Abbott Laboratories, Amgen, Astrellas, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol Meyers Squibb, Daiichi Sankyo, Eli Lilly, Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi-Aventis, Takeda, and Teva.
Fifty percent of the apps in question were found to be patient-facing and 36 percent were made to be used by physicians. Fourteen percent had another user in mind.
SmartPatient also found that a good number of pharma apps -- 38 percent -- are specific to a particular drug. They also don't tend to get too much attention post-release. Thirty percent of pharma apps have never been updated, and 29 percent have only been updated once. Twenty-one percent had 2-3 updates, and 20 percent had four or more.
Most pharma apps had one or two functions (40 percent and 42 percent respectively) -- only 16 percent had three functions and just 3 percent had four. Specifically, 48 percent of pharma apps primarily presented health information, 19 percent served as health journals, and 15 percent served as medication reminders.
The most supported health condition for apps was cancer, which 11 percent of apps addressed, followed by coronary heart disease and diabetes, each the subject of 7 percent of apps.
Ninety-five percent of the apps were for iOS, only 55 percent were on Android. Forty-nine percent of apps were on both platforms. The top three most downloaded apps were Sanofi GoMeals, Clarityn's Pollen Forecast UK, and Johnson and Johnson's 7 Minute Workout.
A report last fall from Research2Guidance found some similar results, in terms of pharma's app success being dominated by a few big winners. According to R2G, the top pharma companies have 65 apps in the Apple and Google Play app stores on average, compared to 1 to 2 apps from the average health app publisher. However, even the pharma companies with the most downloaded apps have only accrued 6.6 million downloads since 2008 and can boast less than 1 million active users.