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From paralysis to analysis: the journey to multichannel marketing - PMLiVE

From paralysis to analysis: the journey to multichannel marketing - PMLiVE | New pharma |

The pharmaceutical industry's understanding and adoption of multichannel strategy is, at best, variable. While more enlightened organisations are trying hard to challenge the old models of sales and marketing, others are stubbornly sitting on their hands and persisting with tried-and-tested traditional methodology.


In truth, it's simply paper under glass. To progress, companies perhaps need to become more proactive and pull multichannel planning into the strategic process much earlier. But to do this, they may need to develop a greater understanding of the opportunity and challenge some of the historical cultural values that are deeply embedded across the industry.


“Thankfully, we appear to be coming to the end of the industry-wide obsession with digital and reaching a more level playing field, where companies realise there's a balance to be struck. But to move forward, we really need to follow consumer marketing's lead and develop an empirical way of measuring the value of activity. That will significantly inform our ability to plan a multichannel approach.”


At present, the industry's use of multichannel marketing is often tactical - and rather than being stitched into the fabric of a properly planned pre-launch strategy, it's bolted on at the end as a product of the 'must do something digital' philosophy.

rob halkes's insight:

Multichannel Misery?
I cannot avoid the impression that even in this critical review, it looks that multichannel is still thought in the realm of sending and receiving information...
Not as, to the contrary, as it might be a conversation/discussion - say - WORKing -facility to do things together. Then, Multichannel might be used as (a) devices to collaborate, really to co-create mutual intentions and demands, without need to be face to face - so really a facility to work together and on and off line. But if one wants to do so, one needs to accept that multichannel is not about promotion, but may one step further, into cooperation and collaboration. There's much more to it than seeing multichannel as "just" one of the mass media. It might be transferred in the company to operations.. Would that help?

rob halkes's comment, May 19, 2013 12:55 PM
THnx Lionel! Indeed mcm is not just about campaigning. So right your answer is.. IN connection with our customers (Rx) and their clients (patients) we can make the difference as pharma!
Sven Awege's comment, May 20, 2013 11:51 AM
Inbound and outbound MCM are seldom integrated - hence the confusion of "having a discussion" which can't really happen if the two halves are not seamless.
rob halkes's comment, May 20, 2013 4:03 PM
Indeed Sven, SO I think that design of multichannel in meddevices and pharma world often sticks to the classic one way communication campaigns instead of evolving to the two way interaction. Mcm is in fact suboptimally used when one will not evolve with the opportunities that new communication technology provides to engage with customers.. But is know how difficult it is.. ;-)
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Value Added Services 2015 | Thought leadership and innovation for the Pharmaceutical Industry - EyeforPharma

Value Added Services 2015 | Thought leadership and innovation for the Pharmaceutical Industry - EyeforPharma | New pharma |

3 tailored roadmap's to solutions in healthcare beyond the pill.

- Understand the creation of successful services by looking at organizational structure and internal processes, how to partner with external stakeholders, and how to make projects economically viable.

- A roadmap tailored to your company with three scenarios for creation, development, implementation and up-scaling of ‘Value Added Services’.

- In-depth case studies of company-wide initiatives and specific projects, such as Janssen Healthcare Innovation, Sanofi Integrated Care, Pfizer Integrated Health, Grunenthal´s ‘My pain feels like’ and Boehringer-Ingelheim´s ‘Picasso’.

rob halkes's insight:

I was as happy to conduct the research for Eyeforpharma's Value Added Services Report. It changes the view on how pharma could integrate its different market approaches to focus and be more effective. Effective: both in services to customers and patients, and in commercial return.

I gave already some presentations and workshops to interested audiences, e.g. see here

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Corporate reputation of pharma (from a patient perspective) in 2014 -37 companies ranked

Corporate reputation of pharma (from a patient perspective) in 2014 -37 companies ranked | New pharma |

PRESS RELEASE FROM PATIENTVIEW: 'The Corporate Reputation of Pharma in 2014—the Patient Perspective’, and how the corporate reputation of pharma companies has changed over the past four years

An independent study by PatientView

• Findings based on a survey of 1,150 patient groups (from 58 countries and of differing specialties)
• Survey conducted mid-November 2014 to mid-January 2015
• Patient-group feedback on the corporate reputation of the entire pharma industry during 2014
• Patient-group feedback on the corporate reputation of 37 individual pharma companies in 2014
• Results for 2014 are compared with those of 2013, 2012, and 2011

The 37 pharma companies reviewed in the study are: AbbVie l Actavis l Allergan l Amgen l Astellas l AstraZeneca l Baxter International l Bayer l Biogen Idec l Boehringer-Ingelheim l Bristol-Myers Squibb l Celgene l Eisai l Eli Lilly (Lilly) l Gilead l GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) l Grũnenthal l Ipsen l Janssen l Lundbeck l Menarini l Merck & Co (USA) l Merck KgA (Germany) l Mylan l Novartis l Novo Nordisk l Otsuka l Pfizer l Roche l Sanofi l Servier l Shire l Stada Arzneimittel l Takeda l Teva l UCB l ViiV Healthcare [...]

The majority of patient groups respondent in 2014 acknowledge (as "excellent" or "good") pharma’s innovative capabilities, and its ability to ensure patient safety. However, the majority of patient groups do not believe that the industry is “excellent” or “good” in its other activities. These further activities are:

Having a good relationship with the media / Providing high-quality information for patients / Providing access to clinical trials / Having a patient-centred strategy / Acting with integrity / Managing adverse news about products / Having ethical marketing practices / Providing services to patients outside its business remit / Being transparent in all corporate activities / Practising philanthropic activities / Fair pricing policies

rob halkes's insight:

PRESS RELEASE FROM PATIENTVIEW: 'The Corporate Reputation of Pharma in 2014—the Patient Perspective’, and how the corporate reputation of pharma companies has changed over the past four years.

Remarkable: it shows that health care insurances and payors fall below the industry's reputation of pharma!

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Nurturing change in pharma marketing - PMLiVE

Nurturing change in pharma marketing - PMLiVE | New pharma |

At the turn of the millennium, as the industry began its painful descent from the summit of the blockbuster era, the optimisation of sales resources in a changing environment was global pharma's biggest strategic challenge.

Arguably, it still is. The days when vast armies of representatives descended on GPs in their droves have long departed;[..]

But, as the wider world adapts to technological evolution, even pharma is not immune to the need for real change. In fact, if managed appropriately, technology could provide the catalyst for optimal, efficient and highly effective sales engagement. [..]The rapid development of digital, mobile and ambient technologies has transformed the global communications paradigm, and, with it, set new expectations in how consumers and professionals consume information.[..]he next phase of commercial optimisation will focus not on the death, but on the depth of a salesman. The development of a more nuanced, multichannel approach, where organisations harness technology and leverage communications and insight across a variety of channels, can support and supplement the work of the field force. By adopting a balanced, multichannel approach with the sales force at the centre, companies can enjoy deeper engagement, build deeper relationships and communicate the depth of information that customers in the value-based economy require.[..]

The word 'multichannel' is now de rigueur in marketing circles, but in the pharmaceutical industry, it's a look that's proving difficult to pull off. In the real world, however, it's a simple proposition. “The Holy Grail is having a mixture of channels that enable you to engage with the broadest contingent of customers, with the requisite frequency, to help influence prescribing and change behaviours,” says Julian. “From a sales perspective, the routes to market are manifold. For example, the medical representative, KAM, hospital representative and MSL (medical scientific liaison) are all different channels. So too are call centres, web-enabled remote representatives and other forms of online engagement. The industry is looking at lots of different ways in which it can engage, but - crucially - none of them are mutually exclusive.

Perhaps that's the major obstacle: mutual exclusivity runs deep in pharma's operational psyche. “To progress, everything needs to be integrated across all channels. However, although pharma is putting all these channels in place, they still operate them in silos,” says Jan. [..]”

The future model of pharmaceutical sales will almost certainly be multichannel - but, despite the harbingers of doom, the sales professional will remain the driving force. “The best multichannel approaches will comprise the proper alignment of human and digital resources,” says Jan. “Technology can help provide scale, speed, intelligence and analytics - but it's only by putting human resource at the centre of communications that multichannel can fully deliver.”

rob halkes's insight:

Multichannel - Surely, Integrating technology with human face-to-face meetings? Right on. Knowing the customer in its characteristics, preferences and demands? Even more so.

Sales forces, rather "customer facing forces", to signal the multidisciplinary, cross functional obligation from all "inside", are here to stay. But, one needs to remember that multichannel in this respect is only refering to the means, the instruments of communication! Don't forget content management that goes right with it. One would say, that it's what they meant here, but little has been said about it.

Pharma people need to learn how not to tell the same message again and again, but to build on the messages an interaction with customers to a higher level of relation quality. 'Quality' to be measured in development from information to common interests, goals and co-creation - the end game of "sales"! If such quality is not build in, boredom and annoyance rise and create dislike of meetings: "Don't send me any more information, I've had them" ...

When however, common interests lead to new collaboration, pharma needs to be ready to invest time, expertise and money into better solutions to the common end: better care and better health outcomes. If not, no relations will last, and the only value is in the product. That is good, of course, but in the advanced markets, it's not enough.

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Different healthcare systems influence marketing practices by pharmaceutical companies

Different healthcare systems influence marketing practices by pharmaceutical companies | New pharma |

Countries have different healthcare systems to provide access to medical services and prescription medications for their citizens. The healthcare system model determines access to basic care, compensation for medical professionals and how fast innovative new drugs are available from medical providers. The way healthcare systems influence the marketing practices of pharmaceutical companies is explored by comparing the healthcare systems of the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), Germany and Poland.In this article, George Sillup and Marta Makowska compare the healthcare systems in the US, UK, Germany and Poland. They explore the different ways in which these systems influence the marketing practices of pharmaceutical companies. ...

rob halkes's insight:

That's why it is so "d...." necessary for pharma companys to learn how to differentiate their market approach to different countries with different health care systems, decision making structures and reimbursement rules.

Lots of Pharma companies have been thinking that new procedures of market access would do the needed trick.  -   They must have learned by now, that this is not the only thing. ..

We have been publishing about it already in 2009, see here

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Essentials for Pharma Key Account Management

Essentials for Pharma Key Account Management | New pharma |
Pharma companies must adapt to vast changes in health care by forming long-term strategic relationships founded on joint value creation with customers.
  • Few pharma companies have revised their customer models in light of the vast changes in health care that are transforming customers.
  • Effective key account management helps foster partnerships to create long-term mutual value and advantage.
  • To get key account management right, pharma companies must gain a deep understanding of their customers, focus on join value creation, forge enduring partnerships, create cross-functional integration, and cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset.
See Also the original blog for more information

Vast changes in the health care landscape worldwide are transforming customers. Treatment decision making is rapidly shifting from the individual physician to a diverse set of institutional customers, from hospitals to integrated care entities, and from payers to pharmacies and health-benefit-management companies. The pressure to deliver greater value is also driving this evolution. And while some customers are already more sophisticated than others, all are building experience and new capabilities to improve their economic performance and better manage patient outcomes.

The experience of hospitals offers a good example not only of how these market pressures are affecting institutions but also of the new ways in which institutional customers are responding to them. With health-care reimbursement levels shrinking, hospitals are consolidating, and they are building scale and expertise in the process. Most hospitals now employ a variety of analytical tools, such as benchmarks and studies, to evaluate price, cost effectiveness, and outcomes. They are also creating new positions in their management teams to bridge the traditionally segregated clinical and procurement domains. And they are launching or expanding efforts to assess medicines and procedures in their patient populations. Moreover, they are using the knowledge they gain through these efforts to improve formularies and treatment protocols.

The more sophisticated payers and integrated providers are also investing heavily in building capabilities. Increasingly, these customers are adopting a holistic approach to health care, partnering with pharmaceutical companies to improve outcomes, disease management, and compliance.

Despite these dramatic developments in the customer landscape, however, many pharma companies have yet to adapt their customer models. When key account management in the pharmaceutical industry is compared with that of other industries, including consumer goods and industrial products, it’s clear that most pharma companies are still lagging. Here’s why:

  • Pharma companies don’t fully recognize the range of customers’ business drivers and needs. A one-size-fits-all-approach, even when designed for the most important customers, no longer works.
  • Companies think transactionally instead of strategically. Pharma companies often put short-term concerns ahead of long-term considerations—for example, focusing on getting the highest possible price or the greatest revenues right away instead of weighing customers’ economic situations and evolving needs.
  • Companies overcomplicate their customer management models. In an effort to keep pace with the growing complexities of customer requirements, pharma companies often end up tailoring individual customer relationships to an unsustainable degree. The result is reduced quality, unnecessary complexity, and inefficiencies that erode the profit potential of key accounts.
  • Customer management is hampered by conflicting roles and responsibilities. Customer-facing functions, from account management and medical affairs to business units and support departments, often end up tripping all over each other—and the customer. The resulting redundancies and confusion can do more to erode value than to create it.
  • Key account managers (KAMs) often lack the right competencies, and companies don’t seek or cultivate these skills. The best sales-line managers and sales representatives don’t necessarily make the best KAMs. Unfortunately, many pharma companies still struggle to recruite and promote people who have the skill sets that key account management requires. So far, few organizations have embedded the development of those skills in their hiring, training, and promotion processes.
These weaknesses limit pharma companies’ ability to serve their largest, most complex customers effectively. Pharma companies are already losing out on opportunities to create value through partnerships with health care systems and the broader community of health care stakeholders, largely because such relationships require cross-functional capabilities.

Effective key account management, in our view, depends on cross-functional integration to deliver value. Many pharma companies do practice some form of key account management, but gaps exist in even the best-managed companies.

rob halkes's insight:

Key Account Management is for pharma the most difficult service to develop! It needs an internal collaboration between siloed departments that one hasn't exercised for the last 10 to 20 years.

Yet, there's no way out outherwise than to give your customers the right attention to get partnerships. A partnership that goes further than just drug promotion and delivery...

Alexandre Gultzgoff's curator insight, November 25, 2014 3:34 AM

BCG's vision about KAM. a dream?

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The Supply Chain Of The Future A Strategic View

The Supply Chain Of The Future A Strategic View | New pharma |

Evolutionary theory teaches us it is neither the strongest nor the most intelligent of the species that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. Ingredient suppliers, manufacturers, quality standards and audits, and logistics are just a few areas where we can expect to see many changes. Adapting to these changes will be critical to everyone involved in the process and in ensuring that medicines are delivered to patients safely and effectively.

The pharma supply chain has certainly undergone significant change in the last 40 years. In the 1970s and 1980s very little outsourcing was performed in pharma. Companies had separate domestic and international divisions, each with its own manufacturing. In the 1990s, API manufacturing became globalized, global quality standards were rolled out, and generic and biotech manufacturers emerged.

In the first decade of the 21st century, dosage-form manufacturing went global, companies instituted operational improvement programs, external supply departments were established, and outsourced products were managed more consistently. There was also greater scrutiny, with regulatory actions increasing exponentially. Business interruptions are now pervasive, with plant shutdowns resulting in drug shortages and higher manufacturing costs.

Take A Strategic Approach
To improve supply chain performance and avoid costly and disruptive delays, companies must take a strategic approach. This begins with setting goals that redefine performance. First and foremost, pharma must make 100% customer service levels their top priority. Pharma should strive for short cycle times, low inventory levels, and no products on the drug shortage list. Quality levels should be set that consistently beat expectations, including zero regulatory actions, processes with advanced warning systems in place, and value driven decisions being made at every level. Waste elimination must also be a top priority.

Part of a strategic approach involves the preparation of a strategic plan. Several factors should be considered when preparing this plan. Counterfeiting and diversion are things the industry has to attack smartly and aggressively. To do this effectively, everyone in the supply chain has to be held accountable. Counterfeiters must be identified and prosecuted wherever in the world they happen to be. We must also devise creative solutions to fight counterfeiting quickly and effectively. These solutions must be supported by everyone, including regulators.

Pharma companies must take needed steps to reinvent outsourcing. To assist in managing suppliers, firms should establish a set of GSPs (good supplier practices). Part of this is developing a set of metrics for suppliers and improving the way customers and suppliers communicate with each other. Cracking down on poor cGMP practices will require drug developers to support the audit services industry and the push for manufacturing uniformity. This should consist of an alignment of standards for product classes, consistent penalties for risky behavior, a drive for consistency across regions, and a consolidation of industry support organizations. We also need to see stronger integration of information technology in the supply chain, a seamless integration of data with suppliers, and investment in continuous manufacturing, electronic batch records, automated processes, and other IT advancements we have seen in other industries.

Finally, there needs to be a greater focus on getting operational excellence right. Manufacturers must attack variability, waste, and inefficient processes with a vengeance. Managers must engage and motivate employees from top to bottom, while focusing on mindsets and behaviors. A focus on training will be essential, and when new ideas are adopted, they cannot be hypothetical. Managers must make sure the improvements are actually happening on the factory floor.

Are You Making Progress?
Once changes are made, how can you know progress is being made? There are several metrics that can be used to gauge progress.

Critical drug shortages should be rare, and customer service metrics should indicate a 99% or greater shipment completion rate. The pharmaceutical industry should be managing suppliers better than any other industry in the world. When regulatory actions have been all but eliminated, medicines are available to all at an appropriate cost, and when we have altered the risk/reward situation for diverters and counterfeiters, we will know we are making progress.

If changes are done correctly, drug manufacturers will not only secure their supply chains and reputations, but also will have the highest levels of compliance and customer service. The result will be safer medicines, fewer adverse events, and lower costs for pharma.

rob halkes's insight:

Supply chain innovation in pharma, not the highest priority? Still a "need-to-inspect" in light of outsourcing, counterfeit, customer services, cGMP and GSP. Also an area for co-creation ;-)

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FDA Proposes Guidelines for Posting Medical-Product Information Online

A lot can be misconstrued in the silent world of the Internet. While online technology has changed the communications paradigm, it also has resulted in bad information, embarrassing typos, factual errors and malfeasance.

Fake Web sites, botched emails, rambling blogs and photo abuse appear in cyberspace every day. Most of it is innocuous. But the stakes are higher for the medical community as it adapts to and enters the digital realm.

“In today’s world, in addition to traditional sources of medical product information, patients and health care providers regularly get information about FDA-regulated medical products through social media and other Internet sources, and those technologies continue to evolve,” wrote Thomas Abrams, of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion, on the FDAVoice blog. “But regardless of the Internet source used to communicate about medical products, the public health is best served by clear, accurate, truthful and non-misleading information about them.”

The agency has acknowledged the convenience, importance and popularity of social media as a resource for the medical community and industry-at-large by developing a set of best practices for current and future sites. The best practices come in the form of two proposed guidances, the goals of which are to help companies state the purposes of their products with the utmost honesty.

Both guidances relate to medical devices and prescription drugs.

“These documents strive to ensure that the information provided by drug and device companies is accurate and will help patients to make well-informed decisions in consultation with their health care providers,” Abrams wrote.

The first guidance addresses posting information to Twitter and paid-search sites that have character limits. The task of presenting the benefits and risks of a product in 140 characters or less can be daunting – and dangerous.  Both sides of the story need to be told, and a link or a phone number should be provided to give consumers a way to get more information from the company or an additional source.

The second guidance recommends ways for companies to correct information relayed about their products online, whether in a blog or on a Facebook post, whether negative or positive.

“We developed these new guidances, in part, to respond to requests for best practices from companies and other stakeholders,” Abrams wrote. “We gave careful thought to our draft recommendations, and we understand technology will continue to evolve.”

Because of the inherent risks posed by medical devices (defects) and prescription drugs (addiction), and their respective benefits (improved lifespan and disease prevention), the agency prioritized the proposed guidances.

“As a regulatory agency, we are committed to ensuring that the information about these products that their manufacturers and distributors direct at patients and health care providers is accurate and balanced,” Abrams wrote.

Via Plus91
rob halkes's insight:

The world does open up for information on line, also about medical products ! 

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Digital Strategy in Pharma: 7 Questions You Should Be Asking About Your Brand

Digital Strategy in Pharma: 7 Questions You Should Be Asking About Your Brand | New pharma |

In the wake of some of the biggest pharma deals of the year, industry marketers gathered to discuss their digital strategies at iPharma 2014. Like its sister sector, healthcare, pharmaceuticals has been slower to adopt new media and technology than consumer goods, but industry leaders now recognize the significant impact online activities have on their brands’ reputations. Despite regulatory challenges, the presentations all focused on positive—and possible—shifts communicators can make to better serve patients and physicians. Here are some guiding questions based on the speakers’ presentations you can use to focus your marketing and strengthen your brand. 

1. Are you interacting with your patients online?

As consumers ourselves, we know the power of online interaction and how it drives customer behavior. Digital health is no different. One study showed that 95 million Americans use smartphones for health info, a 27 percent increase from last year. Patients also spend nearly 52 hours per year reading health information online. [...]

2. Are you using data to target your marketing efforts? 

Whether it’s studying your customers’ online behaviors or tapping into predictive analytics, big data is a key way to stretch your marketing dollar. Technology now even allows you to pinpoint the smartphone users near a particular doctor’s office. [...]

3. Are you communicating clearly with your team about your brand? 

Great brand strategies resonate through all levels of an organization, from research and development to human resources. [...]

4. Is the customer at the heart of your marketing plan? 

To often, brands misstep by placing themselves at the center of a strategic marketing plan. They ask, “What information do we want to give?” rather than ”What information do our consumers want to hear?” [...]

5. Are your communications authentic? 

Storytelling has become a key component of marketing and branding in recent years. Some of this is a result of the 78 percent of internet users who watch or download videos online. Videos that go viral often tug at our heartstrings but only resonate when the storytelling is original or authentic.

6. Are you building programs for short-term results or lasting impact?

Because everything is changing so rapidly in the pharma space, marketing KPIs are often skewed for quick, c-suite-approved results: “likes,” on Facebook, “retweets,” etc. These results are not insignificant, but they aren’t necessarily indicators of longevity. [...]

7. Are you listening? 

To your patients? To your physicians? To your employees?  What are your customers looking for? Seek to assuage anxiety by providing answers, comfort, or community via content marketing, videos, and website development. Katharine Patterson, Global Communications Manager for GE Healthcare, closed her presentation with a simple but powerful directive, “Be a human first. Then a marketer.”

rob halkes's insight:

Yes, Great rules and principles for the health industry, also so long known already. But indeed, they are still worth telling. It is not that they have been adhered too yet by the industry ;-)

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Apple's 'Health' and "HealthKit" as part of iOS 8 - Now in competition with Samsung, and with all health care providers

Apple's 'Health' and "HealthKit" as part of iOS 8 - Now in competition with Samsung, and with all health care providers | New pharma |

Apple put up its big show at its world wide developers conference on Monday. Also to present its Healthkit and Health application. Actually a hub, like your Apps are on your phone or tablet.

See the highlights of the presentation here o Youtube, health talks starts at 1:25' !

See also:



rob halkes's insight:

Goes without saying. Apple's "Healthkit" amazing. Bringing health parameter data together, AND aligning and integrating these with some of us, like the Mayo clinic, while RadboudUMC was mentioned too.

Now, as "traditional health care providers", we are in to the competition with Samsung and Apple regarding health care. But through them with selected health care providers, as well. These might get first response privileges from Apple: responding to customers worries about their data, even facilitate "preemptively" responding without being asked, to users with alerts, or ".. you better connect with us" - messages.

Imagine how disruptive that is..

Are you shocked? Well this is what was immanent. But there are angles that are still rather easy to overcome.

For instance, Apple's application seems to be still a hub, instead of an integrated platform: that is, it connects and relates, also even provides interaction facilities, but it will still be the same image of my iPhone with all its apps.. It is not (yet) an integrated ehealth platform.

There are your opportunities.

In this frame, I might say: it's my alert to you: get in touch, see my email here  ;-)

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FDA Draft Guidance Takes the "Social" Out Of Social Media

FDA Draft Guidance Takes the "Social" Out Of Social Media | New pharma |

The FDA’s long awaited social media guidance published in draft form early this year is long on reach and short on specifics; the largely negative reaction from the biopharmaceutical industry reflects this.

If you just read the headlines of the various government enforcement actions that have been brought and settled in the past few years, you are invariably led to conclude that biomedical drug and device firms are renegades who willfully ignore government oversight in pursuit of profits.  Of course they are in pursuit of profits, like all businesses, and therefore some regulation is important to ensure that truthful information is conveyed to patients, physicians and payers. But this very same regulation ought not preclude or inhibit manufacturers from providing the most current, accurate information available – who else but the manufacturer is more likely to have such information in the first place? I have written about this in the context of the off label promotion issue broadly, and I believe the same principle should apply to all forms of company communication.

Instagram and other Social Media Apps (Photo credit: Jason A. Howie)

With this in mind, a news flash that may not be evident to our public servants toiling away in the government bureaucracy: social media is a popular and increasingly important means of communicating information.  Shockingly, even doctors and patients use it.  A recent survey of physicians found that over 50% of practices responding used Facebook as a platform, and 87% those physicians under the age of 55 used some form of social media. With the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requiring increased use of digitalized data under the Meaningful Use guidelines, one might say that the government is actively encouraging certain actors in the healthcare system to increase their use of technology to enhance patient engagement.

But drug companies, not so much.  A study announced earlier this year by IMS Health found that only 23 of the top 50 global pharmaceutical companies made regular use of social media. A more recent survey by the Tufts University Center for the Study of Drug Development found that the use of social media in clinical research is minimal – so much so that most companies have yet to develop policies and practices in this area.  The survey found that only one in five firms that employ social media have used it to engage with patients, leaving it to third parties like patient advocacy groups or limiting their forays to banner advertisements.

The FDA’s recalcitrance in issuing guidance has been part of the problem. Back in 2008, when I held a visiting academic post at Oxford, I spoke with Jeremy Mean, the UK official who works with the British Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and is responsible for regulating these very same promotional and marketing practices by these very same companies.  In September 2007, now nearly seven years ago, he already had addressed formally an industry gathering to discuss the challenge of regulating social media communications.  He noted that while we know how to regulate labeling and promotional material, we are less certain as to how to evaluate “everything in between.” Still, even with this admitted uncertainty, Mean went on to discuss his preliminary views on web communications with industry representatives.  The FDA’s culture and history suggests that it is simply not willing to engage with industry in a collaborative effort to wrestle with the ambiguities presented by technological advance.  We are all the poorer for it.

Logo of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The symbol represents the American People sheltered in the wing of the American Eagle, suggesting the Department’s concern and responsibility for the welfare of the people. The logo is the department’s main visual identifier; the seal is now used for mainly legal purposes. The color can be either black or reflex blue. More information here and here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With its draft guidance, the FDA seems determined to put the genie back in the bottle, as it would make every utterance by a drug or device company subject to scrutiny to determine if it is outside the agency approved indication(s). Physicians have the prerogative to prescribe medications for unapproved uses, and often ask for guidance in prescribing and seeking reimbursement coverage for their patients, but companies are unable to freely advise on such issues other than in the context of a Medical Affairs representative responding to a specific inquiry from a practicing physician. Social media offers an opportunity for companies to provide background on medical practice and clinical developments, but the FDA’s draft guidance seems to go beyond the regulation of “labeling” or “advertising” as these terms are defined under the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act (FDCA) to reach other types of communication.

Moreover, the guidelines raise the specter of the FDA expanding the scope of its purview to deem loosely or unaffiliated speakers as coming under the “influence or control” of the company – and therefore subjecting the company to liability for social media postings by a much broader range of actors than simply those who are authorized representatives of the pharmaceutical company’s Medical or Public Affairs groups.

This is touchy issue for many reasons, but just for fun, let’s wrestle with a philosophical question.  Should a company be held legally responsible for any actions taken or statements made by any and all employees and advisors that may relate directly or even tangentially to the company’s business?

Admittedly, corporations struggle with this question on their own. Most executives recognize that they cannot control their employees, particularly outside of the work environment. Yet they often hew toward a fairly restrictive position based upon heightened concerns of liability and government regulatory oversight. Some appear to cling to the belief, however outmoded, that management indeed can control the company’s message and reputation by controlling on line communications.

Here is a example of how some companies have approached the issue:

Although Public Affairs is solely responsible for developing and executing corporate communications on behalf of the Company, employees may post or engage in other social media activity on their own behalf outside normal working hours.  That said, it is important to acknowledge that employees who choose to do so may be seen as representing the Company, especially if the subject matter in any way relates to the Company, its business, its reputation, the science underlying our products and compounds, or public policy issues of concern to the Company or the biopharmaceutical industry generally.  As such, employees should avoid posting or engaging on social media outlets on a topic, or in a manner, that may reflect negatively on the Company.

In other words, we all know that we really can’t stop you from posting but . . . please please please don’t talk about the company. This has prevailed in many corners of the biopharmaceutical industry, where the rants of disgruntled sales representatives appear daily in living color on CafePharma, while the complexity of the safety and efficacy profile of approved drugs together with the limited space offered in some social media formats (e.g., Twitter) have handicapped efforts to communicate effectively with patients.

This is understandable, particularly as it concerns employees or agents who really don’t know what they are talking about.  But to the extent that corporate instincts are reinforced by an overly restrictive FDA, this is not necessarily a good thing.

Do we want to foster a dynamic marketplace of ideas where fulsome communication is supported?  Do we really believe that a government agency can – or should – control the information that is available to physicians and patients?  And if, in the company’s opinion, the posted information is wrong headed, do we want companies to act in good faith to correct the error?


 will watch with interest to see if the industry comments affect the final guidance. But the draft suggests that the agency is holding tight to a twentieth century command and control mindset, and is resisting mightily the sometimes uncomfortable reality of twenty-first century technology and its implications for healthcare communications.



Via Plus91, Rémy TESTON
rob halkes's insight:

It isn't easy, I guess, for an authority like FDA to make leaps towards a new business model, when this model is not yet followed by the majority of those they overview..
Maybe we could co-create an intermediate set of rules/guidance, where those who want more "free" space to act, will work in co-creative approach with the FDA?

What it is in care, co-creation? See here:

Joel Finkle's curator insight, May 27, 2014 10:16 AM

Given the 'permanence' of social media, I can see FDA oversight as rational: it's really not different from advertising.  Discuss?

Carmen Ganzaráin Pina's curator insight, October 30, 2014 6:39 AM

Un breve artículo sobre la FDA, comité regulador de alimentos y medicamentos en EEUU.

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80% of doctors in China use a smartphone - PMLiVE

80% of doctors in China use a smartphone - PMLiVE | New pharma |

Doctors in China are making strong use of smartphones for professional purposes, according to a new report.

The Manhattan Research Study from Decision Resources Group found that 80 per cent of physicians in the country now own or use one of the devices.

The analysts said in the topline figures they released that smartphone use covers a variety of activities and that consequently pharma marketers must tailor their approach when developing smartphone content aimed at doctors in China.

The figures put the country on a par with the US, where doctors' use of smartphones – through growing rapidly over the last few years – seems to have plateaued.

Meanwhile, the detail that Decision Resources shared from its Taking the Pulse Global 2014 report also showed that doctors in Brazil don't think pharma is making the best use of tablet detailing.

Three quarters of the doctors in Brazil surveyed said they had seen a tablet-wielding rep in 2014 but Decision Resources said satisfaction rates with the technology remains relatively low.

“Content and user-experience need to improve in order to enhance tablet-rep campaigns and increase physician satisfaction,” the analysts concluded.

Meredith Ressi, VP of marketing innovation solutions at Decision Resources, said: “Many companies now centralise digital best practices through global centers of excellence, while also giving local affiliates the flexibility to tweak their approach and asset mix to suit local market demand.

“These findings highlight the necessity of this tailored approach and can help multinational companies inform these priorities by market.”

rob halkes's insight:

It is still a lot about promotional effort. Surely, a baseline, but what about interaction and communication - it is difficult isn't it?

See how the process of development could be:

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Samsung the pharmaceutical company, and the coming changes in rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis

Samsung the pharmaceutical company, and the coming changes in rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis | New pharma |

In case you haven’t heard: Samsung is now a pharmaceutical company, or at least on the point of becoming one. Subsequent to its having invested at least $2b in biopharmaceuticals, the South Korean giant will be bringing a biosimilar version of Amgen’s Enbrel to market in 2016.

That’s right.

In 2016, a company best known for its consumer electronics and heavily invested in mobile health is going to start producing pharmaceuticals, and will apparently begin by bringing a treatment to market which will presumably make it a dominant force overnight in the two disease areas in which Enbrel has indications, namely moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis.

The implications of this for legacy pharmaceutical companies are wide-reaching and significant. Let’s consider a few of them (I anticipate updating this post over the next few months):

- Samsung now has more touch points across the health ecosystem than any other pharmaceutical company. ...

- Samsung’s total focus on customer experience and design makes it a credible champion of the participatory patient’s interests. ...

- Hundreds of millions of people carry this pharmaceutical company’s brand with them day and night. ...

- Consumers will think of Samsung as a consumer electronics company that makes pharmaceuticals. ...

- Samsung will be the first consumer technology company to enter the pharmaceutical marketplace, but it will not be the last.

If this thought doesn’t focus legacy pharmaceutical companies into throwing everything they have into reforming themselves as social business, nothing will. The survival of even the largest companies is far from certain when giants such as Samsung have set their sights upon entering the industry.

Samsung doesn’t think like a pharmaceutical company.

Pharmaceutical companies better start thinking like Samsung.

rob halkes's insight:

Great blog by Andrew Spong, keen enough to see the great potential.. very much inspiring to all of pharma ;-) 

Must read, and still more: must think!

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Value in Pharmaceutical Pricing | OECD iLibrary

Value in Pharmaceutical Pricing | OECD iLibrary | New pharma |


This study analyses how 14 OECD Countries refer to “value” when making decisions on reimbursement and prices of new medicines. It details the type of outcomes considered, the perspective and methods adopted for economic evaluation when used; and the consideration of budget impact. It describes which dimensions are taken into account in the assessment of “innovativeness” and the consequences of this assessment on prices; it confirms that treatments for severe and/or rare diseases are often more valued than others and shows how countries use product-specific agreements in an attempt to better align value and price.



The main objective of this report was to explore value-based pricing for pharmaceuticals. In principle, value-based pricing (VBP) can offer better value-for-money for purchasers of pharmaceuticals. It also gives clear signals to pharmaceutical companies that they will be rewarded if their products address the priorities of the purchasers, so in the longer run may reorient pharmaceutical innovation in a more cost- effective direction. However, it is easier to talk of rewarding ‘value’ than it is actually to do so. Is it value to the purchaser that should be the basis of decisions (i.e. some combination of the increase in health and the reduction in other health spending) or the value to society (which would also take into account increased labour force productivity of those who are less sick and those who no longer care for others, amongst other things)? Is there ‘value’ in innovation itself? Countries which use value-based pricing for pharmaceuticals do not make the same choices as to how to determine value. Furthermore, countries which do not have value-based pricing per se may take into account some of the elements used in economic assessments of value in making their decisions. This report attempts to shed light on what impact these different choices make to reimbursement decisions and prices.


Read on in the downloadable PDF!

Please cite this paper as:

Paris, V. and A. Belloni (2013), “Value in Pharmaceutical Pricing”,

OECD Health Working Papers, No. 63, OECD Publishing.

rob halkes's insight:

Very insightful research!

Just for your appetite, I quote two relevant conclusions:

  • The first, and by no means trivial, conclusion is that the type of health outcomes considered by assessment bodies and decision-makers to inform or make decisions on reimbursement seem to have more in common with each other than differences. (p.58)

  • One substantial difference between the case-study countries is whether they take into account utility for patients as a measure of outcome. Typically, countries using economic evaluation consider utility (Australia, Canada, Sweden, Norway and the United Kingdom) while other countries (e.g. France or Italy) do not. This is expected to have an impact on reimbursement decisions, price levels and relative prices of different categories of products. From the sample of countries and products scrutinized, it was not possible to identify such an impact.(p.58)

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Why Pharma Matters

Why Pharma Matters | New pharma |
In 1948, the year I was born, the average American man did not retire at age 65. He died of a heart attack.There were no thrombolytic drugs to break up the clots that were starving his heart of oxygen, no beta-blockers to ease the strain on his heart. There were no cardiac surgeons. Coronary artery bypass grafts lay a dozen years in the future, and though cardiac catheterization had just been developed, it would be nearly three decades before it would be used to reopen blocked coronary arteries
rob halkes's insight:

Pharma matters, in the past, at present and certainly in the future..

But how to define thier new position in healthcare: is it less or more than 'just" making new drugs??

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Succesful mHealth Publishing-presentation-mHealth-Summit-Israel by Research2Guidance

rob halkes's insight:
Very insightful report about the mhealth market from a Pharma viewpoint says: publishing apps by pharma is not that easy, but has been done a lot. Learn from the information about their success!
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37 companies reviewed in "Corporate Reputation of Pharma in 2014 - The Patient Perspective"

37 companies reviewed in "Corporate Reputation of Pharma in 2014 - The Patient Perspective" | New pharma |

The 4th edition of PatientView's annual CORPORATE REPUTATION INDEX OF PHARMA has collected responses from over 1,100 patient groups worldwide, which comment on the state of pharma in 2014 and on the corporate reputation of 37 companies. The first report in the series, taking a global perspective, will be published in February 2015, with companies ranked for their reputation from the perspective of these patient groups. 

Over the past 3 years, the CORPORATE REPUTATION INDEX OF PHARMA has been featured by the Financial Times, by Forbes Magazine, and by numerous national and trade papers around the world. Most recently, the importance of PatientView's corporate reputation analyses was recognised in the Deloitte report, "Healthcare and Life Sciences Predictions 2020 - A Bold Future?", published in late 2014.  

As a pharma company, you may wish to obtain a preview copy (previews are only available before the report is sent to the press in early February 2015), see information here

rob halkes's insight:

Great must see inisghts into pharma's relations to patients by @PatientView

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Integrated Delivery Networks (IDN) - Evolution & Necessities | Mu Sigma Thought Leadership

Integrated Delivery Networks (IDN) - Evolution & Necessities | Mu Sigma Thought Leadership | New pharma |
Integrated Delivery Networks (IDN) has resulted in a consolidated network for healthcare providers. Check out how this influences the decision sciences methodology for pharmaceutical companies.

Why this is important

Health care providers are undergoing a series of integrations that result in a consolidated network providing affordable and quality medical care –The IDN. Pharmaceutical companies need to evaluate their sales and marketing efforts and shift their focus from physician based selling to network based selling in order to tap the centralized decision makers.

Conventional Wisdom

Over the past few years the pharmaceutical industry has viewed Physicians as one of the dominant entities influencing its success and growth. A physician reserved the autonomy on decisions concerning the choice of therapy for his patients and was subjected to influence mainly by peers (group-practices) and Industry leaders (KOLs). Consequently, all pharmaceutical companies focused their promotional and educational initiatives on physicians. Sales teams were determined to acquire the mind share of physicians which resulted in having to tap a large group of individuals in order to expect returns. However, this is becoming old school.

The Evolving Industry

In the recent past, Health Care providers (primarily hospital chains) have undergone a series of vertical and horizontal integrations. Vertical integrations included the acquisition of primary care physicians (PCPs), strategic alliances with physicians in physician-hospital organizations (PHOs) etc. On the other hand, horizontal integrations involved the establishment of multihospital systems, alliances with neighboring hospitals and mergers. Over time, such integrations have evolved and enhanced to what is today referred to as the Integrated Delivery Network (IDN).

The integrations have resulted in the creation of a network of facilities and providers working together to offer a continuum of care. Prevailing economic market conditions and an array of healthcare reforms demands high quality of treatment at reduced costs (PPACA -2014). The very nature of integration allows IDNs to gain perspective on quality and cost factors that lead to better outcomes. This new vision focuses not only on intervention, but also on prevention and wellness, guiding patients to the most appropriate site of care, at the right time and cost. In short, IDNs are “Patient Centric” systems that act as ‘Islands of Excellence’ providing quality cost-effective treatments.

Conventional Wisdom

Over the past few years the pharmaceutical industry has viewed Physicians as one of the dominant entities influencing its success and growth. A physician reserved the autonomy on decisions concerning the choice of therapy for his patients and was subjected to influence mainly by peers (group-practices) and Industry leaders (KOLs). Consequently, all pharmaceutical companies focused their promotional and educational initiatives on physicians. Sales teams were determined to acquire the mind share of physicians which resulted in having to tap a large group of individuals in order to expect returns. However, this is becoming old school.

The Evolving Industry

In the recent past, Health Care providers (primarily hospital chains) have undergone a series of vertical and horizontal integrations. Vertical integrations included the acquisition of primary care physicians (PCPs), strategic alliances with physicians in physician-hospital organizations (PHOs) etc. On the other hand, horizontal integrations involved the establishment of multihospital systems, alliances with neighboring hospitals and mergers. Over time, such integrations have evolved and enhanced to what is today referred to as the Integrated Delivery Network (IDN).

The integrations have resulted in the creation of a network of facilities and providers working together to offer a continuum of care. Prevailing economic market conditions and an array of healthcare reforms demands high quality of treatment at reduced costs (PPACA -2014). The very nature of integration allows IDNs to gain perspective on quality and cost factors that lead to better outcomes. This new vision focuses not only on intervention, but also on prevention and wellness, guiding patients to the most appropriate site of care, at the right time and cost. In short, IDNs are “Patient Centric” systems that act as ‘Islands of Excellence’ providing quality cost-effective treatments.

rob halkes's insight:

In short: The world of health care is changing rapidly under the stres of more quality and volume for less costs of care. The formation of Integrated Delivery Networks (IDNs) will rise. To the health industry and pharma it means: if ou're not in, you're out and your competitor is in. This makes the need to change principles of market approach from a pharmaceutical company even  higher.

Don't you have a clue as to how: get in touch:

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Sales rep restrictions point to need for a pharma rethink

Sales rep restrictions point to need for a pharma rethink | New pharma |

 .. A survey shows sales rep bans are accelerating, while also pointing to a limitedtime opportunity for pharma to become a significant partner for healthcare systems.

[..] the latest edition of his firm's survey his group compiled with Capgemini Consulting shows that change in certain aspects of the pharma commercial space is happening very, very, quickly— but he says the industry is not doing enough to adapt its promotional strategies to address a healthcare environment dominated by cost-conscious medical groups and performance-focused federal health programs.

But first, a little math. This years survey showed that 32% of physicians said they cannot talk to reps, compared to 27% last year. Apply this limit to doctors in organized health systems, and the restrictions become even greater: 42% of doctors affiliated with integrated health networks say they are not allowed to see reps—a 17% increase since last year.

Malloy told MM&M his group was surprised by how quickly the no-access population jumped since last year and said it probably reflects a higher pace of change than the industry is aware of. Further, he said the industry is wrongly using the same perspective it uses to woo doctors to court payers and integrated networks. He said that this is a pretty big problem because organizations don't need breakfast meetings, portals or newsletters. Instead, he said groups need technology and that pharma has an opportunity to “bring that expertise on how to use digital tech [like EMRs] effectively.”

The Quantia/Capgemini data indicate that getting the integrated-system approach right is only going to become more urgent: 2014 data suggest 57% of physicians now work within an organized provider system, like an Integrated Delivery Network/Health Network and 44% of doctors said they are working for organizations that are moving towards an Accountable Care Organization model, which generally means implementing even more restrictions around rep-doctor contacts and greater formulary control.

Malloy said this same data also outlines how pharma can become part of the health conversation by uniquely partnering with administrators and doctors[...]

The provider angle requires a rethink about what it means for a drug manufacturer to become a resource for health professionals.“Administrators don't have good relationships with their doctors... they have trouble communicating with the doctors they have acquired through acquisitions,” Malloy said, and noted that he sees an opportunity for pharma to position itself as a healthcare partner invested in the overall patient experience as opposed to a single condition. He that this change requires having reps address different levels of expertise—nurse practitioners, for example, instead of just doctors—and providing educational support that is not just pinned to a manufacturer's product.[..]

This concept hits on one the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics mentioned in a recent write-up about the importance of the patient journey, which IMS said is about more than Googling symptoms and potential physicians and includes the full experience—physician education, doctor-patient relationships and back-of-the-house considerations like formularies and the regimens physicians will be able to offer during exams.[...]

Malloy said being the go-to that puts all of these pieces together is a time-sensitive opportunity and unless pharma figures out “how to work with systems so they can directly and indirectly influence [the way] formulary management systems... are structured,” the impact will be harsh: “All the decision-making will be taken and pharma won't be able to influence it.”

rob halkes's insight:

It is clear: the rep function of pharma is getting outdated, unless... We knew that, did we?

Malloy suggest a new approach which is in essence about delivering services that clients might really need beyond just information on the drug.

But, based upon my own experience in updating the promotional approach of pharma companies, I'm not very enthusiastic about the suggestions made here. Think for instance on the need for internal alignment, in my view the most difficult issue for change to current pharma companies, ..

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Digital Transformation Moves Pharma 'Beyond the Pill' #hcsmeu #pharma

Digital Transformation Moves Pharma 'Beyond the Pill' #hcsmeu #pharma | New pharma |
Pharmas are looking to move to a range of value-added services under the moniker beyond-the-pill – and most of those new services are digital.

rob halkes's insight:

A sure thing.. pharma's fundamental change is underway. The question is how to make it true within the organizations. I suspect a difficult change process is immanent, as I 'm currently well underway with such in pharma companies.

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Corporate reputation of the medical device industry - the patient perspective

Corporate reputation of the medical device industry - the patient perspective | New pharma |


Report published by PatientView, June 4th 2014

London, June 4, 2014. This report is based on the findings of a PatientView March-April 2014 global survey exploring the views of 408 international, national, regional, and local patient groups from 54 countries (86% from Europe), and with a wide range of differing medical specialties. The report provides feedback on the corporate reputation of the medical device industry during 2013-2014, as well as the performance of 28 leading medical device companies for six key indicators that influence corporate reputation: patient-centredness; patient information; patient safety; useful products; transparency; and integrity. Results are compared with industry and corporate performance in the previous two years.

For the purposes of this report, the phrase ‘corporate reputation’ is defined as the extent to which medical device companies are meeting the expectations of patients and patient groups. 28 companies are examined in the report.

See the complete press release !!

Key Findings:

The 2014 survey is an exact repeat of studies carried out in2012 and 2013, allowing the progress of the medical device industry (and individual companies) to be tracked over the three-year period.

- 2013-2014 results put the medical device industry first among all healthcare industries (but by default). 60% of the patient groups responding to the 2013-2014 survey state that multinational medical device companies had an “Excellent” or “Good” reputation that year, the same percentage as in 2012-2013, and higher than in 2011-2012 (when only 53% stated as such). [..]
- In fact, the overall reputation of the medical device industry has slipped, in the perception of patients. When respondent patient groups were asked whether the corporate reputation of medical device companies in their own right had improved, declined, or remained unchanged over the past year (2013-2014), just 34% felt able to state that the industry’s reputation had improved (compared with 40% in 2012-2013). And 26% of the 2013-2014 respondents say that the reputation of the medical device industry declined (the figure was 24% in 2012-2013).[...]- The medical device industry’s performance at various activities of importance to patient groups is stable. On the whole, the performance of the medical device industry at activities of importance to patient groups has remained remarkably similar over the past two years (between 2013-2014 and 2012-2013). [...]


Ranking              2013-2014

Coloplast A/S   

St.Jude Mecial
Novo Nordisk A/S
Roche Diagnostics


Abbott Labaratories

Fresenius Medical Care

Medtronic, Inc.

Philips Healthcare

rob halkes's insight:

Great Insights into the corporate reputations from the best performing Medical  Device Industry in patients' perspectives!

Kudos to Coloplast, ConvaTec and St.Jude Medical.

Sorry to see Philips healthcare just at the 10th place. 

Sweden seems to be the best country for Medical devices Industry..;-)

rob halkes's curator insight, June 4, 2014 4:58 AM

Congrats to those in the top 10. What are you doing when you're organization is less than good in this perspective?

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Pharma Marketing Blog: Healthcare Marketers Trend Report 2014: I Give It a "C-Meh!" Rating

Pharma Marketing Blog: Healthcare Marketers Trend Report 2014: I Give It a "C-Meh!" Rating | New pharma |

Not all available market research is created equal," says Rich Meyer, author of DTC Marketing Blog. According to Meyer, "some research is a must have and provides insights, but there is also a lot of available research that doesn’t clarify findings and is written by journalists not people will real world pharma business experience." He goes on to rate various sources of pharma marketing research (here).

Meyer has two ratings:"A-Must Have" and "D-Pass," which means don't bother with it. Meyer doesn't have a "C-Meh!" rating -- that's my way of saying "lackluster, take it or leave it."

One study "written by journalists" is the MM&M/Ogilvy CommonHealth Healthcare Marketers Trend Report, the 2014 version of which was just published (here). Let me tell you why I give it a "C-Meh!" rating.

One surprising finding of this survey of 202 "qualified" senior executives -- "all director level and above" -- employed by pharmaceutical, biotechnology, devices and diagnostics companies, is that 22% of pharma marketing budgets of these individuals goes to some form of digital marketing (websites, digital ads, SEO marketing, and social media).

See further read on blog!

rob halkes's insight:

Great review  by John Mack, @pharmaguy of these trend "researches". Due to his investment in time, we can state: trend reports? "C-meh" ;-)

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Jonathan Bush Urges Pharma to Take a New Look at the Pharma Business Model

Jonathan Bush Urges Pharma to Take a New Look at the Pharma Business Model | New pharma |

Jonathan Bush tells it like it is to pharma by Lois Drapin, CEO, The Drapin Group LLC  See the whole blog here - I just take some quotes..;-)

First, let’s not forget his reasons for being there.  As he stated, ‘I am the proud owner of Epocrates, Epocrates, Epocrates (product announcement).”   But now let’s take that a bit further.  He presented himself as a pharma outsider.  Indeed.  And pharma is now finding itself more on the outside of the healthcare delivery process than ever before. ..

“Our business model, said Bush, “depends on the patient doing the thing that the doctor wants… in order for us to get revenue.  So we may use a web app, carrier pigeons or trained llamas to get that outcome in the office, to get that patient  to come into the office or a patient paying the bill or a patient picking up their prescription, or a patient coming back after an abnormal blood test.  That is the revenue event for Athena, not the app. “..

Pharma needs a conversion: “Pull the good thing through”

According to Bush, and you could hear a pin drop in the crowded room, pharma needs to “converts its incredible set of cures into a sustainable new business model in this era.”  In fact he had already made this statement: “There are fetters to the business model that will pull the good thing through….and this …whole sub-sector is a casting about for a business model to pull the good thing through.”

…hospitals exit the theater.  2013 is well over 150 mergers now where there are only 4,350 hospitals left and now we are down to less than 1800 decision makers in the entire two trillion dollar market or something like  1,700 and some actual buyers. ...

According to Bush, these enormous systems are faced with a similar dilemma.  “Hospitals are realizing that they actually can’t produce enough sick people by buying up primary care doctors to do this so they’re sort of struggling with ‘How am I going to expand the number of patients that I touch this hospital with?’.. 
You have seen an explosion in marketing efforts by health systems to try and to get to more patients and an explosion in accountable care efforts to get smarter about reducing hospital days. ...

Bush asked the pharma marketers in the room to not only focus on hospital days, but on hospital stay.  Here is the three-step process he admonished the community to take:

  1. Take every drug you have and organize it by disease by the number of hospital days that could go away.  “Find the moments that matter financially and clinically.”
  2. Jump into the moment of care with a cure.  “There is more than one definition of the ‘cure’.”  At this point, armed with a true understanding of hospital stay, pharma can market directly to the “biospheres”…the same systems that are shutting down the ability to go doctor by doctor, the gatekeepers.  Bush says what once was your enemy, will become your friend.
  3. Follow up on the prescriptions that are written and make sure the patients get those drugs but also ‘don’t end up in the hospital.”  “Relentlessly follow up on all conditions for success,” said Bush.

According to Bush, athenahealth has a ‘higher percentage of patients connecting to our clients online than anyone else…much higher that Kaiser…which used to be number one at this.”  What’s in the secret sauce?

  1. Pharma can sponsor a medical home program with any doctor that wants it or with any biosphere that wants it.  Using Athena’s ability to bring the right pathway to the physician and his/her patient, and to get the patient to do the thing the patient is supposed to do, pharma can activate being at the right time and at the right moment…with a cure. Find help with analyzing the hospital stay, it could be athenahealth, it could be others.
  2. Jonathan says that pharma’s marketing  style to physicians and to consumers is the turn off.  The experience of Epocrates is 12 pt. font.  Simple. Essential.  Relentless. “Think of advertising on NPR…you are extremely constrained on what you can do and say on NPR but the impact it makes when you just get down to the facts and cut all the fluff is higher in some audiences.”  To be clear, athenahealth advertises on NPR.   Physicians have learned to deconstruct, then reconstruct for a living.  “It is deconstruction discipline.”
  3. Bush believes that pharma can serve the doctor by knowing how the drug works.  Pharma can knows this too–not just that it works, but in what population and how it works best.  Pharma can know the hospitals days and stay, the deflection point, so to speak.
  4. athenahealth has the cloud and the technology.  They are able to pop up on the doctor’s portal, powered by athenahealth and have the physician message the patient as they pass a Walgreens…even if they filled a prescription at CVS last week.  Remember, athenahealth is going to get to that patient no matter what depends on it.  That is their business model.
  5. Lastly, Bush praised pharma for their clinical trials.  Too bad they don’t resemble real life.  “Of course as soon as your drug is legal, well then of course everything else is in play…the smog, the stress, the location, the fashion…everything is now part of whether your drug works.”  Therein is the market opportunity in “working the way in which drugs are fit into real life and so you become a welcome sponsor again.”    He said, ‘if this doesn’t work, if you’ve eaten already, if this doesn’t work if you miss a dose, if this works better if you cut down on animal facts, you (pharma) are in play for that.”  This is where pharma can excel.  “The more you can do to wrap real life around your drug, make your cure actually cure, the more you can point to hospital days that went away, the more those biospheres will actually be your accelerator, not your preventer.”

Pharma marketers are taking a new wave of “beyond the pill” marketing solutions into healthcare.  Is this really new?  ...  I think it’s time we stopped using marketing buzz words to describe what pharma needs most.  What pharma needs most, according to Bush, is a sustainable business model that pulls “the good thing through.”Lois Drapin, MPS-H.S.A.

rob halkes's insight:

Actually, What Bush addresses in his speech regards the renewal of the value proposition of pharma: innovate value to physicians and to patients.

There are lots of examples for this - See here for instance.

The other site of the endeavour to pharma is the question of how! That's not an easy one: it means to rearrange the organization and its routines into performing selected and focused activities to different accounts - it means pharma needs to learn how to differentiate its pharma market approach.

I witness these projects and coach them. It takes some nerve to dare, but when a company can put it through, it will collect the returns.

Ask me, when you don't believe it. ;-)

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Physician Views: How do oncologists value medical affairs teams what could they be doing better?

Physician Views: How do oncologists value medical affairs teams  what could they be doing better? | New pharma |

FirstWord Pharma

Medical affairs teams are playing an increasingly critical role for pharmaceutical manufacturers. They are in a prime position to navigate the industry's continued transition from merely selling drugs to playing an integral role in the efficient workings of healthcare systems. Not only do medical affairs personnel sit at an interface between the R&D and commercial spheres, but represent the voice of the company in communication with a growing range of stakeholders.

As with other stakeholders, pharma's relationship and means of communication with physicians has evolved significantly in recent years, with medical affairs teams playing a pivotal role in this shift. As the role of the typical sales representative has diminished, medical affairs personnel have emerged, largely in response to regulatory changes that require a clear firewall between promotional and non-promotional activities.  (italic added by Rob Halkes)

With the role of medical affairs largely defined by their non-promotional duties (thought leader management, medical science liaison, medical education and information, clinical research operations and outcomes studies, for example) and interaction with a large number of stakeholders, pharma has endured some difficulties in measuring the success and value of these teams.

FirstWord's latest Physician Views poll seeks to gain some insight into how physicians value the role that medical affairs personnel play. Specifically we asked US and EU5-based oncologists:

How important they view medical affairs teams in enabling effective communication between physicians and pharmaceutical companies?

Which activities undertaken by medical affairs teams they consider the most valuable?

What skills they value the most from a medical science liaison (MSL)?

What their preferred frequency of contact is with medical affairs professionals?

What areas they think pharmaceutical company medical affairs teams must focus on in order to deliver better service to physicians?

You will be able to read the results and analysis on Friday.

Results and related analysis will be published for FirstWord Pharma PLUS subscribers to read, with the opportunity for non-FirstWord Pharma PLUS subscribers to purchase these findings. To be notified when poll results and analysis become available, please click here.

As always, FirstWord would very much like to receive your feedback and suggestions.

rob halkes's insight:

I do not often support commercial rerports, but this seems to be deliveering good knowledge on how pharma must and is changing. I do hope it sheds some light on how difficult that appears to be to most pharma companies. Well let's see what comes out of it.

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Digital disruption - PMLiVE

Digital disruption - PMLiVE | New pharma |

"The pressure to transform will come from all stakeholders, not just technologies"

Many articles, conferences and presentations have been shared about the impact of digital on the communications of pharmaceutical products, how it has reinvented medical education, the role of the patient in our new interconnected world, the usefulness of social networks, viral marketing or even advanced analytics and big data. But in each case what we are really talking about is the trend behind some of the coming challenges and opportunities for our industry.

Digitally-driven transformations have changed entire industries along with the demise of once-mighty corporations, including such household names as EMI music, Polaroid, Kodak, Woolworths, Thomas Cook, Blockbuster and Encyclopaedia Britannica many of whom have radically restructured, or in some cases, gone into bankruptcy, as new digital entrants have disrupted their traditional business models. This disruptive thinking, defined by economist Joseph Schumpeter as the 'creative destruction' of established businesses, has led to new business practices.


In the pharmaceutical industry many companies have taken large and commendable steps by adopting new technologies, developing digital assets and even listening to social media conversations on their products or disease areas. But often these adjustments to the new digital realities capture only a fraction of the shifting value as many organisations are challenged to do no more than inch toward digital, especially since nobody knows when, or from which source(s), the next disruption will come. It is clear that today's digital disruption involves not only evolving technologies, but a revolution in the way that patients, physicians, carers, scientists and others use technology. Innovation in communications today includes not only digitising content, but also interactions, experiences and relationships, digital networks and cloud computing for example offer access to large amounts of processing power and systems to screen potential new drugs, analyse complex diseases and develop new pharmaceutical products and services.

These innovations and others to come will help shape our industry for tomorrow, not just processes but relationships and even existing business models, thus the pressure to transform enterprises will come not just from technologists or number-crunchers but all stakeholders.

It is an exciting future for those who can identify the right opportunities and trends relevant for our industry and with the passion to implement these ideas in their organisations.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views, strategies or opinions of Roche (!!)

rob halkes's insight:

Insights from someone from within the Pharma industry unburdening his soul. Truly, indeed pharma is going digital but they are still way behind of what could be, and in my view  what's necessary to do in the perspective of new interaction characteristics with customers and end users. I've seen lots of projects and know how things can go slowly, iunaligned or even not at all. It is no sinecure!

Let me tell you about it ...

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Boehringer plans to open trial data back to 1998 - PMLiVE

Boehringer plans to open trial data back to 1998 - PMLiVE | New pharma |

Boehringer Ingelheim has announced that it intends to make drug data from clinical trials stemming back to 1998 accessible as part of efforts to improve research transparency within the industry.

The move is part of a collaboration with fellow pharma companies Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Roche and ViiV Healthcare on an online platform to handle requests from researchers for trial data.

Boehringer's chairman Dr Andreas Barner made the announcement at Boehringer's annual company meeting yesterday, following up from a commitment to transparency announced at the same meeting in 2013.

Dr Barner, who also heads R&D at Boehringer, explained that the online platform - available at - currently contained 50 trials available for which to request patient-level data, but the plan is to reach 500 from all involved parties.

“That's quite a job to achieve. but we have to do it in interest of what data and information can be shared with others,” said Dr Barner.

“We have always argued in favour of transparency and now want a more scientific discussion on the level of trial data and have therefore joined up with several research-based pharmaceutical companies in order to make clinical trials data and documents available to a wider public.” ....

read on in the original post here

rob halkes's insight:

Great to see real development in sharing clinical research data!

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