LGBTQ+ Consumers Trust PCPs, Not Pharma Companies

Less than 15% of LGBTQ+ consumers perceive pharmaceutical companies favorably, but 73% say they can be “completely open and honest” with their primary care physicians, according to “Health and the LGBTQ+ Community,” a new study from WPP healthcare agency CMI Media Group and research firm Community Marketing & Insights.

“This suggests that LGBTQ+ patients would be much more receptive to a message coming from their doctor compared to an ad,” Amy Litt, CMI’s vice president, communications planning, concludes in the report. Also, only 20% of respondents said they’d talk to their doctor as a result of a pharma ad.

So how can pharma companies best reach this market?



“Pharma brands should seriously consider how to equip HCPs [health care providers] with information and POC [point of care] materials specific to LGTBQ+ needs to facilitate these conversations,” writes Litt.

Indeed, educating HCPs on LGBTQ+ patient needs was cited as the most meaningful way for pharma companies to engage with members of the LGBTQ+ community. Ninety-five percent of all respondents said this process was “very” or “somewhat” important. Providing free meds to LGBTQ+ people in need came in second, with 91% finding it very important or somewhat important.

The research also finds that LGBTQ+ consumers:

Want to hear from brands all year, not just during June  Pride Month. As for companies that participate in Pride Month, respondents say their presence at events Is less important than direct support of LGTBQ+ organizations, such as product donations to those in need and donations to local nonprofits. Also, younger people (60% of 18- to 34-year-olds) expressed skepticism of companies changing their logos to include a rainbow, although only 24% of those 55+ feel this way.

They want to receive and be represented in not just HIV-related advertising, but ads covering a wide range of their health concerns.Those concerns for 18- to 34-year-olds are topped by mental health, while those 55+ are most concerned about heart health. Asked what they have done to improve or address any mental health concerns over the past year, under half of all respondents say they took medications (43%) or saw a therapist or counselor (35%), numbers which Litt said may be caused by such factors as stigma, lack of insurance coverage and inability to afford treatment.

They want companies to align LGBTQ+ aligned values in the form of supporting organizations, reforming internal policies, taking political stands – and putting LGBTQ+ people in ads aimed at the general population. Only 13% of respondents say they have seen LGBTQ+ people represented in any non-HIV-related pharma advertising during the preceding year).

The study found sources of health information in the LGBTQ+ community to align with the general population: 78% use search engines, and 72% general health websites.

As to media use overall, streaming TV is most popular, viewed by 49% of respondents, followed by Faceboook (48%), streaming music or radio (43%) and Instagram (39%).

The data comes from an August online survey of 1,777 self-identified members of the LGBTQ+ community, 18+, living in the U.S.

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