Augmented Reality , Manufacturing , Digital Transformation , Training , Pharmaceutical

6 examples where Augmented Reality has helped Pharmaceutical companies increase their ROI

Follow this blog to know how these pharma companies have been encashing on AR to increase their revenue

"Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear."

We have come across the quote while riding a vehicle with rear-view mirrors. This warning regarding optics' mechanism rightly serves as an accurate metaphor waking us up to the technology of Augmented Reality – a harbinger of future automation and way of life- already at our doorstep. Augmented Reality (or AR) has entered the industries and proves results in easing human forces' work and reducing error. 

Though in the initial stage now, you can still see AR's adoption in the Pharmaceutical Industry. It benefits the industry from the new product development stage to the marketing and consumption stage. From increasing efficiency of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing processes to spread awareness about a medicine's action inside the human body, Augmented Reality played a vital role in the last few years. Pharma companies have leveraged the usage of AR in various stages of their business. 

The pandemic has propelled pharma into a place where you are now facing a massive surge in demand. People have become more health-conscious and have been taking medicines more seriously. The advent of e-pharma companies has brought you closer to your customers. In such a favourable scenario, pharmacies should now focus on more significant ROI using the latest technologies.

lastest technology

Image source: Random42



1.) GSK’s augmented communication and production optimisation

GSK has been using Augmented Reality in their communication strategies. They use AR to educate customers about the working of their medicines. This step of educating the consumers helps in the consumers' decision-making process. The customers who can see the drug's effects on their cells in 3D videos have greater trust in the medicine. Visual aids like this help in brand recall and ensure brand loyalty. Customers buying the medicine once would come back again to buy the same. So customer education provides an increase in sales figure from the existing customers.

AR also helps GSK in educating retail stores about arranging shelves. Use of Augmented Reality the store owners can now see how their store would look like with the kind of arrangement. AR would help in deciding the look and feel of the store. They can test out various retail strategies and decide after visualising every alternative. AR also aids in gathering data from consumers. These data and insights can be further communicated to the storekeepers or pharmacist partners to improve the in-store experience. 

GSK also wants to leverage AR across business process. They plan to create a framework and quantify the impact it has on the consumers and business. 

Also, GSK has launched a campaign for their migraine-relief medication. With the use of VR, the consumers understood the experience of living with a migraine. 

They were building their new Aseptic Manufacturing Facility in County Durham. To ensure that the installation went as per the design, they turned to Augmented Reality. GSK wanted the facility to handle the filling of Aseptic vials and syringes to manage cold chain products for the next 1-2 decades. They needed their complex industry structure to comply with the set industry standards.

Using AR, they got a customised app from their tech designer. This app enabled them to visualise their upcoming unit on their devices. Using the 3D Building Information Modelling (BIM), they could interrogate the actual installation as per the model. This model helped in resolving any practical issue that had gone unnoticed in the designing stage. Identification and immediate rectification reduced the installation cost drastically, which otherwise would have been an unnecessary expenditure due to the plant's size and complexity.

2.) Speak your SOPs to your workers the Astra Zeneca way

Astra Zeneca has its incubation hub for facilitating innovations through the use of Artificial Intelligence. Their decision to use AR has its inspiration from the automobile and food industry. They are now trying and testing various features to scale up their businesses using multiple such innovations.

The pharmacy giant had 17000 Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for different Pharmaceutical Manufacturing processes. Digitising these SOPs, they were able to feed the data into an AR model further. This model could then benefit them at the crucial stages of manufacturing. Implementation was seen positively by their factory workers, who could now navigate to required documents and carry out tasks as per the instructions. The SOPs that are more complex than others (about hundreds of pages), AR-enhanced procedures offered a significant increase inefficiency. They also had voice assistance to guide them in the process.

Astra Zeneca is implementing a culture of accepting digital innovations with their 'fail fast' models to try and test out many experiments. Adopting new technologies and improving methods reduces production costs, optimising their resources, both human and material. 

3.) Brochures that speak out, Pfizer’s Augmented Reality App



Pfizer works with the government to come up with the latest innovations in the pharmaceutical industry. To increase awareness and spread the knowledge among the stakeholders, they came up with a brochure. Now, where does Augmented Reality come in? Well, Pfizer also prepared an Augmented Reality App. 

This app would enable the user to get additional information from the brochure. When you open the app, it would ask you for your language preference. Once you choose, it then asks you to place the app in front of the brochure to capture the page's image. The graphics from the page come alive through 3D, and you can turn your device to get a 360o view of the images. The app would then read aloud the information and explain the concepts virtually. Audio-visual cues' inculcation to reach out to consumers takes Pfizer a step ahead in reaching out to their stakeholders, spreading awareness regarding their products and the diseases and their treatment. 

Pharmaceutical manufacturing is increasing in complexities. Like Astra Zeneca, Pfizer also had various procedures and manufacturing processes. And each step would come with a set of guidelines or SOPs. Pfizer's experienced employees realised the importance of using digital technology to transfer the knowledge to frontline workers smoothly. Using an augmented reality experience, the frontline workers we able to increase their productivity and reduce errors. An increase in operational efficiency directly benefits them in their increasing profit margin.

4.) Cipla’s Maxirich app for customer engagement



Another example of how to use AR for reaching out to your customers is Cipla’s Maxirich App. 

To promote Cipla’s flagship product, Maxirich, they planned to raise consumer awareness through AR. Using a mobile app, they engage with their potential consumers educating them about the necessity of medical supplement in day-to-day activities. 

Upon opening the app, it asks whether you fall sick occasionally. There is an asking for an engaging experience. Upon clicking, your camera opens. The app then asks you to catch 'Virtual Vitamins/Minerals' that appear as you move your camera. Each Vitamin or Mineral you catch; shows the usage of it in our human body. After collecting all the supplements, Maxirich's advertisement appears, claiming its contents of 13 minerals.

This engaging game has had considerable success in customer engagement and awareness. Using AR for an extraordinary advertisement technique provided a sensory-rich experience for the consumers, which would leave a long-lasting mark in the consumers' minds. 

As the market has moved towards customising product bundle and targeting individuals through marketing, Maxirich's campaign opens doors for future customer engagement. The better the communication done through these apps, the greater will be the reach of the brand. 

Cipla also uses AR technology to train the workforce in their API manufacturing plant in Kurkumbh. Plant maintenance, too, is done using augmented Reality there.

5.) Warehouse it like Johnson and Johnson

With the change in consumer attitude towards the purchase of products, the Pharma Companies like Johnson and Johnson had to change their consumers' ways. They needed to improve their supply chain management system and make it more robust. 

An essential step in supply chain management is warehousing. J&J planned to optimise their warehouse facilities activities. They needed to locate the required product in the correct quantity and forward it along the chain. This is where Augmented Reality came in. 

pharma employee

Picture source: J&J website 

J&J used AR goggles. These would add information about the product virtually in real-world backdrops. This information would enable employees to locate the right product. At their DePuy Synthes facility in Warsaw, the picking up of Orthopaedic products increased by 20% using this system. 

Johnson and Johnson have also developed an AR programme for their Contact Lenses. Launched for their market in China, this programme allows the consumers to try on different lenses virtually. They can see how they would look wearing those lenses. 

The application uses facial recognition technology. It detects your eye position when you open the mobile app and adds a virtual image of the contact lenses on your eyes. J&J also uses the same technology to demonstrate their cosmetic products.


6.) Sneeze it out with Sanofi 

Sneezes due to the common cold don't always make the customers visit the drugstore. People ignore it unless it turns into something serious. When Sanofi wanted to foster their over-the-counter (OTC) medicine Allegra in Brazil, how did it reach out to the users?

Again, AR came to their rescue. 

They launched a mobile Augmented Reality campaign to highlight the benefits of its products. The app would apply digital red noses and eye on the users' faces, much like a Snapchat Filter and simulate sneezes. They would see the sneeze droplets spread across the vicinity and settle on surfaces like mobile phones and other devices. 

This campaign catalysed consumer education about the perils of ignoring allergies. They showed how their ignorance would be aiding in the spreading of disease. 

It was then the customers realised the importance of the drug. It appealed to the younger customers. 

People at Sanofi believe that the same level of involvement and awareness wouldn’t have been possible with a 30-second television commercial. 

The campaign appeared to bear success too. Sanofi attracted 5.8 million unique visits to their outlets. The users engaged for an average of 38 seconds—when Sanofi had estimated 25 seconds as a benchmark for success.



Now you have read about the world's top-ranking pharmaceutical companies by valuation have taken their step toward implementing augmented Reality into their processes. This implementation has also been giving good ROIs in terms of increased production efficiencies, minimising errors, and improved supply chain management. Some companies have also increased their consumer reach, leveraged AR to increase customer touchpoints, and educate the customers. They have achieved many out of the box ways to do their marketing using the technologies.

In each stage of the business process, you can implement Augmented Reality. Pharmaceutical Industry is lagging behind others by at least a decade when it comes to implementing technology. So the faster you implement AR, the better edge you are going to have over your competitors. 

There could be many reasons why your company isn't adopting Augmented Reality. The reason could either be inertia to adopt new technologies or lack of knowledgeable persons in your company to take up the initiative. Technology adoption is a slow process in any company. You could be unsure about the returns on the investments, or the need to train people to adapt to new technology feels like an undue burden. But as these companies have shown the way to a profitable marriage with Augmented Reality, not adopting would only mean staying behind in the race. And in this world of unicorns competing with incumbent companies, who would like to stay behind. 

Like the objects in the mirror, Augmented Reality has approached in quicker than we had time to think. It already knocking at our doors. AR is the carrier of the future, and we must all jump onto it.

Share this blog with your company, or people in the pharmacy industry to update them what their industry is talking about and what they are missing out on. If you have any success stories with AR in your company, we would be happy to know about them. Do let us know in the comment section.

In case you are wondering how to implement AR profitably, reach out to us by filling out the form. 


Reach out to Us!

Read Next

8 ways AR can help Manufacturing Industry improve processes

Find out how AR can help your company achieve Manufacturing excellence!

8 ways AR can help Manufacturing Industry improve processes

Find out how AR can help your company achieve Manufacturing excellence!

8 Manufacturing Companies showing the way to leverage AR for greater ROI

If you are wondering how you can use AR in your manufacturing industry or want to learn where AR will be helping your company the best, then scroll below as we discuss how the following companies could use different versions of AR in their business processes. 

5 FMCG companies who used AR to improve their ROI

Below we see how these 5 well-known FMCG companies have used the AR technology and are reaping greater ROIs.