Top 5 Most Accessible Pharmaceutical Companies
In a review of 150 pharmaceutical web pages, Allyable found that only 4% of sites (one out of every twenty-five) are compliant with international accessibility standards for users with disabilities.
Are most pharmaceutical brand websites accessible for their customers who live with a wide range of mobility, cognitive, auditory, speech, visual, neurological, and age-related disabilities, or do they fall short?
The digital accessibility experts at Allyable conducted a recent study to find out how many key players in this essential, $1.27 trillion global industry are making online access a priority. The results were surprising.
4 percent of the scanned pages met the recommended levels of compliance with internationally adopted accessibility standards.
In this article, we share the methodology and outcomes of this study, and what it means for the future of the pharmaceutical industry.
How Allyable Tests Accessibility
Allyable is an award-winning, ISO 27001-certified technology company offering a comprehensive suite of advanced tools to remediate accessibility barriers in existing digital assets and to develop new websites with accessibility in mind: the Allyable360 solution.
One Allyable360 module is the company’s proprietary accessibility checker, AllyAudit™, which is already being used by a number of pharmaceutical companies that have experienced significant progress in making their digital assets more accessible.
AllyAudit automatically scans and audits compliance errors, based on the most current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)—a set of international standards developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). These criteria have been adopted by many countries as the foundation for their accessibility legislation, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 in the United States, EN-301-549 in the European Union, AODA in Canada, and many other countries.
Using AllyAudit, the Allyable team scanned selected Home and Careers pages from 150 pharmaceutical marketing websites to assess their compliance with WCAG Version 2.0 A and AA and Version 2.1 A, AA, and AAA levels (minimum, recommended, and high). Following the scans, a report was generated that summarized the results and calculated a total score for each company.
The subjects selected were based on publicly available listings of the top global pharmaceutical manufacturers by 2020 revenues, primarily in the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe.
Which Companies Ranked Highest
Accessibility scans indicated that 4 percent of those tested met the WCAG 2.1 Level A minimum criteria, while 8 percent met Level AA standards, which is the recommended target level for most websites. In addition, 2% exceeded normal standards by meeting the highest set of accessibility criteria, Level AAA.
Based on their overall score, the top 10 accessible pharma companies as of August 2021 are:
- Fate Therapeutics
- Royalty Pharma
- Mundipharma (careers)
- OPKO Health
- United Therapeutics
The Impact of Digital Accessibility
There are 1.3 billion people worldwide who live with some form of disability, and 61 million in the United States—26% of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Globally, these individuals influence $13 trillion in annual discretionary spending, making this a huge market. Yet, many of them cannot experience websites the way they are intended, even while using assistive technology such as screen readers or speech recognition software.
Surprisingly, fewer than 5% of all websites globally conform to the latest WCAG 2.0 and 2.1+ standards, or even include any accommodations for users with various disabilities. This presents significant barriers to consumers who are unable to navigate websites for such activities as making purchases, appointment-setting, asking questions, or finding the information they need to make important decisions.
For commercial enterprises, these barriers often result in lost sales, when consumers with disabilities give up or go elsewhere for their needs. Studies have shown that 66 percent of internet users simply abandon their purchases in a sales cart or leave a website when they encounter inaccessible functions.
Why Accessibility is Important for Pharma Companies
When it comes to the healthcare industry, the stakes for digital accessibility are even higher. That’s because the inability to navigate a medical or pharmaceutical website can literally be a life-or-death issue for some users.
In February 2021, when COVID-19 vaccines first became available, Kaiser Health News published an article in collaboration with the nonprofit organization WebAIM. Their joint review of 94 state and local government vaccine websites around the U.S. found significant accessibility barriers in all but 13 that provided vaccine information, provider directories, and appointment signups, in clear violation of Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act. Numerous people with visual disabilities in at least seven states were unable to register for vaccinations online using screen reader technology.
This illustrates the primary reason why every pharmaceutical corporation should ensure that their digital assets are fully accessible—the health, safety, and well-being of every user, especially those who live with disabilities.
Another important reason is the increasing number of lawsuits being filed against non-compliant companies, by frustrated people with disabilities and their legal advocates. This often results in expensive legal fees, fines, and the cost of remediation, not to mention a public relations crisis and damaged corporate reputation.
In short, doing the right thing to provide equal access to your online properties protects both your customers and your organization.
Improving Your Internet Accessibility
In the past, remediating WCAG compliance issues was time-consuming and costly, requiring dedicated software development personnel or outsourcing to a service-based company. Today, AllyAudit, along with the entire Allyable360° Platform, makes it fast, easy, and affordable to find and correct accessibility barriers in your websites or build from scratch with accessibility in mind. This can not only provide a welcoming online environment to your users with disabilities but may also improve your search engine optimization (SEO) results—which contributes directly to your bottom line!
Using the most advanced, cutting-edge technology such as AI crowdsourcing and image processing, our revolutionary suite of tools offers a simple, secure, low-code solution to automatically identify and fix or tag opportunities to make features more accessible.
Allyable is committed to keeping our clients’ valuable data 100% secure and confidential. Our products fully comply with ISO 27001 certification and we follow both the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the State of California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) guidelines for online privacy compliance.