Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Big Pharma, brands, healthcare, marketing, pharmaceutical rep, physicians, product manager, transparency, trust
New day. Same story.
The pharmaceutical industry is going through a transformation — not only has it been consolidating with mega-mergers like the one between Merck (MRK) and Schering-Plough, but it’s facing a major patent cliff as the revenues from the blockbuster drugs of the 1990s fall prey to generic competition.
Yet, these larger changes have led to shifts in other parts of the industry, too. Since Big Pharma can no longer rely on new blockbuster drugs to pad their top line, these companies now have to transform how they do business to include the biotech model of finding drugs for diseases with smaller patient populations. This also means a major overhaul of how the industry sells its product to the masses.
Pharmaceutical sales reps will be the first to tell you that the industry is scaling down. Once plentiful — there were more than 100,000 reps in 2005 — the drug sales rep is quickly becoming part of the past. A recent report by Deloitte proclaimed to the industry to change its sales models or bust.
An article in the Indianapolis Star this week shows just how much sales rep are despised by the very doctors they’re supposed to woo. Doctors have been pushing for sales reps to make appointments and cut down their pitch time. In some cases, doctors are asking to ban their presence altogether (one in four doctors now refuses to meet with reps, according to the Deloitte report).
But doctors’ dislike of this incredibly aggressive and confident class of individuals isn’t the only reason that the sales rep is becoming extinct. Doctors are no longer the key decision makers when it comes to what drugs are being prescribed. That decision now rests heavily with consumers (who are highly affected by direct-to-consumer advertising), and even more so with insurers who are the primary payers for the often over-priced drugs being pushed by the pharma companies.
Pharmaceutical companies aren’t blind to the problem. The past year has been a bloodbath for pharmaceutical peddlers. AstraZeneca (AZN) said in 2007 that it would cut 7,600 people by 2013; it later upped that number to 15,000. The company didn’t say where those jobs would come from, but the sales force was offered the buyout first. Sepracor, wholly-owned subsidiary of Japan’s Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma, reduced its number by 530 in 2009, bringing its sales force to 1,325 people. King Pharmaceuticals (KG) eliminated 380 field sales positions last year, bringing its total number of reps down to 720 and Sanofi-Aventis (SNY) cut 750 people from its sales roster.
Jump to 2010: Pfizer (PFE) cut 556 sales reps as part of its broader layoffs due to its merger with Wyeth last year. Earlier in the month, Merck eliminated 400 positions from the Schering-Plough headquarters in New Jersey with a majority coming from the sales team. This is on top of the 1,000 sales reps that Schering laid off in 2008 before its merge.
So how will the new pharmaceutical sales landscape look?
It’s likely that insurance companies are going to be playing an even bigger role in which prescriptions become the drugs of choice. Meanwhile, Big Pharma will likely look to outsourced sales rep to educate those same insurance companies. As a plus for doctors, their knowledge will likely have to come more from medical journals and other non-biased sources.
“Pharma’s challenges require a detailed understanding of each stakeholder’s role and contribution to value,” says W. Scott Evangelista, principal at Deloitte. “By better understanding every stakeholder’s unique needs and motivators, a pharma company would be better equipped to improve its internal capabilities — e.g., knowledge, skills, tools — to interact more effectively with each constituent.”
Filed under: pharmaceutical marketing, physician | Tags: advertising, Big Pharma, healthcare, marketing, patient education, pharmaceutical rep, physicians
According to Dr. Candida Fink’s latest blog post on PsychCentral, not highly. In what clearly wasn’t a good year for pharma in terms of reputation, Dr. Fink highlights why she will “no longer see any drug reps.”
I didn’t want to hear from them, and I haven’t since. I avoid lectures and meetings that drug companies sponsor, and I use no drug company pens or notepads. The longer I avoid direct contact with drug company reps, the better I feel about it. The further removed I am from these things the more I realize I was getting a lot of my information about medications from company reps who had vested interests in my using their product. I realized that I don’t need samples, because the companies give samples only of their newest products, and those don’t have the research or track records that the older products have. Furthermore, the older products are now available as generics, which ultimately save my patients far more money than they save by taking a few free samples and then paying for the priciest, newest product.
Obviously, this is the opinion of one physician, but the points Dr. Fink brings up about her disdain for pharmaceutical marketing tactics have been echoed more than once lately. So if not from pharma companies, where would physicians get their information about products? According to Dr. Fink,”That isn’t to say I don’t keep informed and try new products that are appropriate for certain patients, but I do so based on research and my patients’ needs, not who bought me lunch last week.”
Samples, proper medical education, and other informative materials should be needed to help improve patient outcomes. But physicians seem to be turning their heads the other way. If pharma doesn’t heal the wounds and restore the trust with physicians, credibility will be the least of its problems. What do you think?
Read Dr. Fink’s post here.
Filed under: mobile | Tags: Apps, CTIA, Harris Interactive, healthcare, marketing, mHealth, mobile
Attention healthcare industry! Mobile healthcare solutions will be a reality sooner than you think. And we aren’t talking about just blood pressure monitoring apps, but full-blown health services.
According to a new study conducted by wireless industry association CTIA with Harris Interactive, a vast majority of the US (78%) is interested in mobile health solutions and 15 percent of the U.S. is extremely or very interested in learning more about mHealth.
The study used a combination of two online studies of U.S. adults (5,563) and physicians (115 general practitioners and 129 specialists) to gauge their interest in mHealth service options. Survey respondents felt that access to mHealth would allow for more home-based care (68%), make medical care easier to obtain (51%), and give patients more freedom and choice (51%). More highlights are below.
Read the full report here.
Filed under: advertising | Tags: ad, advertising, Big Pharma, brand manager, brands, business week, client, creative, marketing
Every brand manager, marketing director, CMO, account person and creative wants to know - what makes the perfect ad? Is it the headline or the visual? What about that brilliant logo? Maybe it’s the call-to-action or the tagline that keeps them coming back for more? Or that one design element that caused you to stop in your tracks and stand at attention?
Whatever it may be, the folks at Business Week (Steve McKee) have created a simple list to tell you what it shouldn’t be:
1. Boring. Yep, boring. Why do we watch TV, listen to the radio, read the newspaper, or go online? Three reasons: information, entertainment, and engagement. Ads that fail to offer at least two of these three benefits flop.
2. Boorish. You shouldn’t think of your advertising as being about your brand, you should think of it as an extension of your brand (see “A Practical Guide to Branding”). If it’s loud, annoying, insulting, offensive, or self-centered, people will think the same of your products or services (see “The Cocktail Party Test for Advertising”).
3. Safe. If you worry too much about offending someone, you’re likely to not attract anyone.
4. Trying to do too much. The best an ad can do is communicate one single, compelling idea, and in the age of the Internet—when people know they can go online to get all the additional information they need—it’s crazy to ask an ad to do more than that.
5. Fixing a non-advertising problem. A common mistake many companies make is trying to use advertising to fix another problem. It may be faulty or outdated product design, an uncompetitive cost structure, customer service letdowns, or any number of other things. It’s not as if they do so intentionally; it’s just that it’s a whole lot easier to put on a new coat of paint than it is to fix the foundation that’s causing the drywall to crack.
Read Steve’s full list here.
Filed under: advertising | Tags: advertising, AdViews, marketing, pharma, pharmaceutical, television, youtube
Simple and effective. More classics can be found at AdViews.
Filed under: advertising | Tags: advertising, Big Pharma, brands, marketing, pharma, s&r communications group
In an earlier posting, I described the evolution of agencies and how clients expect and demand that agencies generate ideas, strategies and creative executions in essence, for no charge. That is, an issue or opportunity is identified and the agency creates an idea. Perhaps the client even invites other agencies to submit ideas, and/or may even bid the original provider’s idea out, yet no one gets compensated.
In a recent Medical Marketing & Media article by Mike Myers, Palio, Mr. Myers provides his own thoughts for a fair agency value/compensation strategy. While I agree in principle with what Mr. Myers writes, I am still confused as to how the agency sets the program costs upon a true basis of value and fair compensation. That being said, I totally agree that agencies should indeed be fairly compensated for the ideas they bring, especially if the client requests the agency to expend time, resources and effort.
To illustrate my point perhaps more humorously, if not poignantly, I recently came across the following video on YouTube. To use the old adage that a picture (video clip) says a thousand words, I think you will get it after watching. Enjoy!
Filed under: interactive, mobile, pharmaceutical marketing | Tags: advertising, android, Big Pharma, iPhone, layar, marketing, mobile, pharmaceutical, physicians, video
Coming to a mobile phone (Android and iPhone) near you, in the not so distant future, is the world’s first Augmented Reality Browser – Layar. Layar is a free application for your mobile phone, which shows what is around you by displaying real time digital information on top of reality through the camera of your mobile phone.
Layar is derived from location based services and works on mobile phones that include a camera, GPS and a compass. By looking through the phone’s camera lens, a user can see houses for sale, popular bars and shops, jobs, etc. I can see a world of opportunity for the healthcare industry, especially for providers and physicians. What do you see?