Digital Week – themes

Following an extensive programme of work on the impact of digital developments on the consumer healthcare industry, PAGB hosted Digital Week – an online interactive conference, taking place throughout the week of 5 – 9 July 2021.

We explored five key digital themes across five days.

Want to know more about our Digital Week programme? Read below for insight into each of PAGB’s Digital streams…


eCommerce became an increasingly important focus for consumer healthcare companies as COVID-19 restrictions led to changes in shopping habits. Online sales in 2020 accounted for 10% of consumer healthcare sales – higher than ever before.

While it’s still unclear if consumer behaviour will return to a pre-pandemic ‘norm’, we can be confident that online shopping is here to stay and this means that brands need to ensure that their eCommerce strategies take into account the specific regulatory requirements that apply to over-the-counter medicines, medical devices and food supplements.

Consumer healthcare companies use a variety of eCommerce platforms as well as selling direct to consumers. PAGB identified a need to help members understand the issue of responsibility and control, which impacts all regulatory and advertising aspects of eCommerce. We set up an eCommerce sub-group of members and associate members to identify the different eCommerce models available to the industry; and produce clear guidance on what is in company control, delivery and supply mechanisms, and cross-border constraints related to import and export.

During Digital Week, PAGB’s regulatory and advertising experts took delegates through who’s responsible and who’s in control at different points in the eCommerce journey.

Attendees learnt more about selling on Amazon – do you go vendor or seller? – and the opportunities presented by mobile technology.

View eCommerce session details

Theme sponsor: Precision Marketing Group

Real-World Evidence / Real-World Data

What does real-world evidence (RWE) mean in an OTC setting? How can be used to support consumer healthcare products?

Real-World Evidence (RWE) can help healthcare professionals, regulators and manufacturers understand the use, risks and benefits of medicines, medical devices and food supplements. This is an exciting area for the consumer healthcare industry, which has the potential to generate relevant and up-to-the-minute real-world data on outcomes, use of resources, treatment pathways and importantly, patient preference, experience and compliance.

PAGB and its members have defined what RWE looks like in an OTC setting to highlight the potential for Real-World Evidence to support the product life cycle of medicines and devices. Real-World Data on the use of OTC products could be used to improve or support reclassifications for medicines and monitor safety, which could support the case for widening access to medicines. Greater use of Real-World Data could also enable new advertising claims and provide safety data in real time to support investigation of ingredient challenges.

In Digital Week, attendees heard from PAGB regulatory experts, brands, and leading data analytics companies as we explore the opportunities and challenges of using Real-World Evidence and Real-World Data.

View RWE/RWD session details

Advertising and social media

As the social media landscape has evolved, so have the opportunities and corresponding complexities for brands seeking to engage consumers online.

PAGB’s advertising and social media sub-group undertook a complete review of our advertising guidance on social media, publishing comprehensive new guidance for OTC medicines, medical devices and food supplements in early 2021.

As part of this we addressed the use of influencers in promoting OTC products, working with advertising and medicines regulators to help clarify the position for our industry.

Consumer healthcare brands increasingly use online platforms to reach consumers but this comes with its own set of issues. PAGB represented members in discussions with platforms relating to control of content e.g. Amazon sponsored ads.

We’ve created a new social media workshop, which we launched in Digital Week. Attendees at the training learnt all about what you can and can’t do on social media, and how to stay creative within the code.

Our Digital Week sessions also answered key questions around engaging with consumers online, bringing the topic to life with examples from PAGB members illustrating how brands are successfully interacting with consumers via social media.

View advertising and social media session outlines

Theme sponsor: Team 11

Apps and medical devices

When is an app an app? And when is it a medical device? How can they support your products? This question is fundamental to understanding the potential for software apps in supporting your brands and aiding self care.

PAGB’s apps and medical devices sub-group has been working to develop an industry position on delineation that recognises the future needs and challenges for consumer healthcare. We undertook a detailed scoping exercise to understand the nature of apps used by OTC brands. We’ve mapped existing guidance and requirements for apps used in healthcare and explored the implications of the current regulatory environment for apps and medical devices.

In Digital Week, we set out the key opportunities and considerations for consumer healthcare apps.

Attendees heard from leading consumer healthcare companies about their experience of developing apps to support their products and self care initiatives. We were also joined by Healthily and – companies leading innovation in this field.

View apps and medical devices session details

Self care

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, public health messages encouraged people to self care to minimise the spread of COVID-19 and reduce avoidable pressures on NHS services. During this time, there has also been an acceleration in the advancement of digital and remote healthcare services to provide support and care for people without requiring face-to-face interactions.

As a result, we have seen a shift in attitudes towards both self care and digital healthcare services – as well as a proof of concept that when self care messages are readily accessible and trusted, widespread behavioural change is possible. It is important now that this shift is maintained and embedded for the long term.

As part of its digital self care programme, PAGB undertook an audit of online platforms where people commonly access information about managing their health in England to analyse what information is available and how accessible it is. We used this to make recommendations for how recent advancements across digital platforms and remote services during the pandemic can be harnessed to lock-in a longer-term shift towards self care.

In Digital Week, we debated issues around digital health information and misinformation. We also revealed the findings of our latest survey on self care behaviours as the country emerges from over a year of COVID-19 restrictions. In this exclusive preview, GP Dr Sarah Jarvis joined us to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on people’s attitudes and behaviours, and what this means for digital self care.

View self care session details

Theme sponsor: Hamell Communications 


@PAGBSelfCare #DigitalWeek


PAGB Digital Week enquiries

For bookings and all other enquiries: Amy Finnegan,