Pfizer's first DiGA launch: App on prescription against chronic pain

Cooperation with Selfapy

© Selfapy

Pfizer is supporting the company Selfapy in the market launch and marketing of the app "Selfapy's Online Course for Chronic Pain": On April 18, the digital health application (DiGA) was approved by the BfArM and included as a certified medical device in the provisional DiGA directory of the BfArM. Dr. Sabine Gilliam, Country President of Pfizer Germany, presented the application at the press conference on April 25 at Pfizer's Berlin headquarters and spoke with Nora Blum, CEO of Selfapy, and pain specialist Dr. Eva Bartmann about the benefits of digital support in everyday patient care. 

The launch of the app is not just another success story for Pfizer Healthcare Hub's cocreation approach. With the Selfapy app, Pfizer is also launching its first reimbursable DiGA worldwide. 

Gruppenfoto Pfizer und Selfapy


Digital therapy against chronic pain 

23 million people in Germany alone suffer from continuous or recurring pain, especially in the back. A physical cause cannot always be identified and treated. Pfizer addresses these patients with the app "Selfapys Online Course for Chronic Pain". The reimbursable 12-week online course can help with video, text, and audio content for back pain and chronic pain with psychological and somatic components. Study results show a 26 percent reduction in pain intensity and a 20 percent increase in quality of life. "With the help of the digital course, sufferers learn to activate their own resources. This can help them regain sovereignty so that pain no longer dominates everyday life," says psychologist Nora Blum, founder of Selfapy. "DiGA play an important role in patients' treatment journey and are already an integral part of care. We are happy to take the opportunity to work with others on digital solutions that can make a real difference in care," says Dr. Sabine Gilliam.


Marketing support from Pfizer

The cooperation between Selfapy and Pfizer combines the skills of two experienced companies: Selfapy is one of the largest providers of digital health applications on the German market and a professional in the development of digital applications. Pfizer has many years of expertise in the field of pain management. "We are pleased to support an innovative startup like Selfapy with our expertise and expert network in this cooperation," says Thorsten Mintel, Director Strategic Innovation at Pfizer Pharma GmbH. As head of the Pfizer Healthcare Hub Germany, he is responsible for startup collaborations, among other things, and initiated the cooperation. "In this way, we will help to ensure that the pioneering program helps people with chronic pain as quickly as possible."

Support from Pfizer's expert network is provided on the topic of launch and marketing. The advantages of the digital therapy are to be communicated on the one hand with the help of direct patient marketing, for example via the company's own landing page, but also via the Pfizer network to doctors and doctors' associations. "As a pharmaceutical company, Pfizer has the necessary access to doctors, who are crucial for prescribing Selfapy products. Selfapy can conserve important resources through the cooperation, use the available funds wisely and reach even more people with chronic pain ", says Nora Blum. Paulina Achter leads the Selfapy project as Junior Manager Innovation Engagement at Pfizer: "We use innovative channels and let our learnings flow directly into targeted adjustments of marketing measures, for example with the support of the omnichannel and analytics team," says Paulina Achter. These learnings will serve as a blueprint for future digital projects in the company."

The Pfizer Healthcare Hub as the first point of contact for pharma startup collaborations

The marketing collaboration with Selfapy came about as part of the Humboldt Project to test digital health applications at Pfizer and was initiated by the Pfizer Healthcare Hub. "In the startup world, a hub is the place in the company where innovations are discovered, tested and scaled. For this, we rely on collaborations with digital companies," says Maja Hoock, who heads the Pfizer Healthcare Hub Berlin. "We are very proud to have accompanied Pfizer's first DiGA launch – and will use our experience for future digital collaborations, also in a global context," says Maja Hoock.

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