Augmented reality (AR) embellishes the real-world experience by merging “real-world elements” and “virtual elements,” while virtual reality (VR) is an artificial environment experienced through sensory stimuli using a computer. Over the years, AR and VR technologies have become increasingly flexible, affordable, and portable, making it easier to apply them in various ways in the pharmaceutical environment.
Applications of AR & VR in the Pharma Industry
AR & VR have numerous applications in Pharma, including in HCP education, drug design and discovery, and patient counseling and behavior modification. These technologies can bring complex Pharma materials to life. Additionally, they have transformed pharmaceutical manufacturing by assisting in many ways, including visualizing production and remotely monitoring the process.
AR & VR are also used in pharmaceutical research and development and in Pharma marketing where they can be leveraged to help educate patients and physicians in a more engaging way. For example, in 2017, Pfizer used AR technology to answer patients’ questions about their product ThermaCare at the point of sale. Bayer and others use AR & VR strategies at medical meetings to engage HCPs in booths for educational and scientific exchange.
AR is very useful to demonstrate the capabilities of a new pharmaceutical product, the mechanism behind disease progression, and the mode of action of a new treatment.
Future of AR & VR in Pharma
Although AR and VR are still in their infancy, they have already made a huge impact on the Pharma industry. However, many challenges in using these technologies remain, including cost, accessibility, and acceptance.
Further, there are also regulatory challenges with respect to concerns around privacy and safety. As these technologies become more widely used, a comprehensive regulatory framework and close collaboration with stakeholders will help ensure HCP satisfaction and patient safety while allowing the technologies to thrive.
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