New pharma
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Pharma's struggle for a new commercial model
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Competition and Pharmaceuticals - Valérie Paris - 2014 OECD Global ...

This presentation by Valérie Paris was made at the 2014 Global Forum on Competition (27-28 February) during the session on competition issues in the distribution of pharmaceuticals. Find out more at 

rob halkes's insight:

Great research from Valerie Paris, describing different value design process due to pricing/ market price regulations . Is it time to get one standard for Europe?

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Pharma's current business model 'does not put the patient at the heart of its decision-making', says KPMG

Pharma's current business model 'does not put the patient at the heart of its decision-making', says KPMG | New pharma |

Pharmaceutical companies need to stop simply paying lip-service to patients and radically alter their business models if they are to meet increasing global demand while improving patient outcomes, says KPMG....

Ultimately, we need to change our perception of the pharmaceutical ‘value chain’ to a new ‘value ecosystem’ which puts the patient and the customer at its centre, with other business services wrapped around their needs. Some companies have already started to grasp the nettle and are moving in the right direction – for instance, one life sciences company we spoke to is currently working on an innovative approach to diabetes,” he noted.

Via Andrew Spong
rob halkes's insight:

Indeed the pharma model needs to be build on an comprehensive view on pharma's role, actions and services in the market. See a draft version to this here:

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Chats not charts: a three step programme for pharmaceutical postmarketing

Chats not charts: a three step programme for pharmaceutical postmarketing | New pharma |

The air of despondency that is descending over the pharmaceutical industry’s use of social media is perverse.

It has nothing to do with a putative (and also fictive) absence of interest on the patient’s part in connecting with the pharmaceutical industry.

The pharmaceutical industry’s reluctance to utilise social media outside the anodyne contexts of corporate communications is in my opinion ‘perverse’ in its primary sense: it manifests a wilful determination on pharma’s part not to do what is expected or desired of it by patients.

A new agenda

Let’s begin by assuming all drugs in any given disease area are equally efficacious, have the same characteristics, and cost the same.

That is, of course, enough to send any pharmaceutical marketer into a swoon.

They live demonstrate that this is not the case. Or, rather, they lived, past tense, to do so.

However, in social environments (among others) this is the actually-existing state of affairs.

Why? Because in contexts where promotion (i.e. head-to-head studies) is not allowed, pharmaceutical companies must look to other factors to distinguish themselves from their competitors.

Being a visible, reliable, trustworthy participant in conversations on the social web is an ideal place to demonstrate this – and it is possible.

A three point programme to effective pharmaceutical participation in social environments

  1. Be prepared – ensure all colleagues who need to know what you are going to do are aware of and comfortable with your intentions. Do not let your original plan be derailed or diluted, but make your launch plans conservative enough to ensure that you get to the starting line. Focus on building confidence: your biggest challenge will be carrying your plan forward. Drive simplicity through everything you do. Confront challenges as they arise, don’t kick them into the long grass where they will trip you up later. Write a playbook detailing what you’re going to do, where you’re going to do it, and who is going to be doing it. Cover all adverse event and product complaint requirements. Be aware of the fact that you will need to diplomatically serve and correct many educational needs internally around what will and will not happen.
  2. Be candid - be prepared to answer questions from the public as to who you are, what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. Make a virtue of this.
  3. Be relevant – create distinctive suites of accounts for the disease areas you work in. You’re a pharmaceutical marketer. Be creative. Avoid anything which is or could be construed to be promotional. You’re a pharmaceutical marketer. You know what approvable looks like. Publish appropriate high quality, reliable, relevant information focusing on disease awareness and management. You’re a pharmaceutical marketer. You know where to find this stuff: what’s interesting, and what isn’t; what will reflect well on you indirectly, and what you need to avoid. Reach out to, connect and converse with advocates, healthcare professionals, and societies of interest in your disease area. You’re a pharmaceutical marketer. You know where to find them.

Is it really as easy as this?

Honestly? Yes, and no.

You’ll need to be able to discern and avoid the bumps in the road you will encounter, but such insights only come from experience, and in order to acquire experience, you need to be an active practitioner.

It’s time to start being one.

rob halkes's insight:

Indeed, a must read to the health industry, not just pharma. Andrew stimulates to be as brave to take the journey into practice. Several aspects will come up, but the main thing is to put it through. 

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Up to 70% of non-adherence is voluntary |

Up to 70% of non-adherence is voluntary | | New pharma |
Patients who take medications as doctors direct may save as much as $7,800 each year.

An Eyeforpharma report has some great information on adherence.  There are many reasons given by patients for not adhering to their prescribed treatment. The most obvious are that they simply forgot to take their medicine. This generally corresponds to only about 30% to 40% of cases. In other words, up to 70% of non-adherence is voluntary; people decide not to follow their therapy, either discontinuing it altogether (i.e. not being persistent) or not taking it as often as they should (non-compliant). Why?

Different studies supply different answers to that question, but they can generally be grouped into the following categories:

  • Concerns about the medication ...
  • Impression that the medication is unnecessary ...
  • Financial worries ...
  • Forgetfulness ...
  • Cultural or religious beliefs ...
  • Depression ...
  • Inability to follow treatment ... 

The relative importance of these seven factors vary greatly across different patients, geographies and pathologies. Any effort by the pharmaceutical industry to support patients must first understand what they need, what the specific drivers are for non-adherence in the case of the treatment in question

Consider these faacts:

"US physicians spend on average 16 minuteswith a patient, but only 49 seconds explaining new treatments"

Of those 49 seconds, are spent talking about directions for administration and about side effects, while a clear understanding of side effects before initiating treatment has a positive as opposed to a negative effect on adherence.

Increased adherence to hypertension and cholesterol medicines would reduce healthcare spending by $4 to $5 for every new dollar spent on medicines.

A 10% adherence to asthma medications was associated with a nearly 5% decrease in total annual medical spending.

Patients who take medications as doctors direct may save as much as $7,800 each year.

rob halkes's insight:

The issue of adherence behaviour to therapy by patients begins with the conceptualization of what one understands with it: Is it just an order, or object for discussion, perhaps to tailor it to patients abilities.. Or shouldn't one think that if patients do not as they're told, they must take the consuqeunces...

The report suggests that it is not as simple as that. Necessary to know!

As it is about phama's products, I do think that this is a fundamental tasks to help their clients, the prescribing doctors, to help their patients in this!

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Effective pharma-patient interaction requires credible representation within communities

Effective pharma-patient interaction requires credible representation within communities | New pharma |

Every year, the board game community BoardGameGeek (BGG)  holds an annual convention called BGG.con. It’s pretty much paradise for US unplugged gamers: a library of over 3,500 titles, round-the-clock sessions, vendors, and more.

BGG.con is usually held in at the Hyatt Regency Dallas Fort Worth International Airport hotel.

Meet Glenn.

Glenn is a board game fan, and a member of the BGG community.

Glenn is also an employee of the Hyatt hotel and resort chain.

Glenn wants his fellow community members to have a good experience when they visit the place where he works, and proactively reaches out to pre-empt as many issues as it is feasible to address.

BGG community members express their appreciation verbally within the thread he starts, and also shower him with thumbs and ‘geek gold’ (we gamers had a virtual currency long before Bitcoin ;)) ..

What can pharma learn from this?

Let’s start by reviewing the landscape.

I’m hoping that it’s obvious enough to those who haven’t sacrificed their intellect on the altar of madness presided over by the high priests of multi-channel marketing (MCM) that pharmaceutical marketing is undergoing a saltational evolution.

It is happening rapidly.

It is taking place everywhere.

Its effects are already being felt.

Far from rising to the challenge for the most part the pharmaceutical industry has yet even to recognise the changes that are taking place around it, let alone progress beyond acknowledgment through denial, then disdain, then acceptance, and finally to action.

Setting aside the usual conservatism, reticence and risk-aversion that is the industry’s default mode, for the most part pharmaceutical marketers haven’t ‘got what it takes’ to interact authentically with patients.

I don’t mean this in a pejorative sense.

Rather, I mean that they have neither lived with, nor had first-hand experience of the disease areas they work in.

They should consider themselves lucky that this is so.

However, there are plenty of people who, unfortunately, do have the requisite experience: patients.

Hyatt’s Glenn is a trusted, authoritative, respected voice within BGG because he is one of the community.

Pharma needs fully-disclosed patients on the payroll who were community members before they were employees. People who are known, credible, and capable of reducing the gap between the people who make the drugs, and the people who take the drugs.

In order to be plausible, pharma’s claim to be patient focused needs to be borne out in a practitioner-led reality. There need to be patients on the board, patients on brand teams, patients present everywhere the industry is, informing every aspect of its strategic and tactical activities.

Pharma doesn’t just need to ‘listen to the patient voice’; pharma needs to have a patient face. 

That’s asking a lot of the patient, of course. They’re shouldering the burden of responsibility regarding reputation risk.

However, if pharma-patient relations are going to thaw, the industry needs to represent itself within patient communities through patient employees. There’s no other way that it can legitimately take part, anyway.

Regardless of how attractive it may look to the industry in principle, MCM is far from future-proof. Personally, I’d argue that it’s already dead, and that it was always broken as a concept.


Because to speak of the ‘authenticity’ of a message expressly designed to be redistributed in more than one context is a contradiction in terms.

How authentic can an exchange be that is pre-formatted? Shaped, nuanced, with all the colour and life that the spontaneity of reacting to the opinions of others in real time confers wrung out of it?

In concept and in practice, MCM is an anachronism in the social age.

If you don’t accept that, then be prepared to explain why.

MCM may look good in a deck, but arrows and flow charts do not build relationships: people do.

Whilst digital technologies enable global, near-instant one-to-many communications, relationships are still built on a one-to-one basis. In different countries; in local languages; at a national, regional, and local level.

The bigger the Internet and social web becomes, the tighter our focus will need to be on the emerging communities around us.

The global brand plan is now local.

rob halkes's insight:

Patients indeed would be the best advocates to the use of medicines. They are the very persons that are able to speak about the medicine in its practical therapy context.

Great suggestion Andrew! It surely is one of the largest but best changes tot the current health industry.
It will be difficult to them ;-)
As in lots of great changes, the first one who dares, will take the most benefits and will learn the most from doing so. From that will emerge their (needed) profit.
There’s just one thing that we need to ascertain too: how will patient be given free speech and will they be trusted and accepted by the patient communities they relate to?

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Riding the Information Technology Wave in Life Sciences - Convergence of Healthcare/Tech - IMS Institute Report

Executive Director Murray Aitken discusses the convergence of healthcare & technology.
See the report at:

Riding the Information Technology Wave in
Life Sciences: Priorities, Pitfalls and Promise

This report provides a view of how the current technology wave—defined in terms of cloud- based storage, new applications, systems integration, and embedded analytics—will be harnessed by life sciences companies in their commercialization activities and why this is necessary for these companies to succeed in bringing innovative diagnostic and treatment options to patients.


Life sciences companies are in the midst of riding the technology wave that has already transformed many industries. They are using technology to bring new types of value to health
systems not only through the quality of scientific innovation but also by understanding current patient treatment pathways to help clarify and support helpful clinical approaches. This is changing the role of life sciences companies and bringing much greater use of technology to commercialization functions.

Key Findings

  • Companies store and process information on core functions of the business, and disseminate that information to internal users in sales, marketing and analytics departments
  • Management teams are turning to technology-based approaches to optimize commercial performance
  • Technology is being utilized as a critical means by which companies can better align their activities across departments, and provide better ability to adjust course and tactics
  • As market pressures reduce the lifetime earnings of medicines, life sciences companies will need to reduce spend within their commercial operations, and use new information technologies to accomplish this
  • For cloud technologies to be used more broadly in the life sciences, this will require improved security and compliance commitments from cloud providers
  • Life sciences companies should investigate ways to gain efficiencies and cost savings through cloud technologies including storage, building platforms, and applications
rob halkes's insight:

The transformation of the way life sciences companies do business in this new century is not easy and certainly not only a matter of technology application. But technology is a sure issue in this transformation. One key condition is the need of a concept of how to do this. Based on such vision the company can pretest (conceptually) whether there is a chance to better outcomes, value to both customers and patients, and a better return, hopefully sustainable, too.

Integration is a key element to this both within and outside the organization. But most of all competence to change must drive it all!

Are life sciences being disrupted too? Surely. It makes it all much easier when "one" would acknowledge this and responses accordingly.

See my writings about it here:

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Invigorating biopharma: How the three rules can drive superior performance

Invigorating biopharma: How the three rules can drive superior performance | New pharma |

Though changing industry dynamics may call for a focus on cost containment in the short term, biopharma companies can emerge with new strategies that are again oriented toward non-price value and growth.

The biopharmaceutical industry is at a transformative point in its history. For decades, the industry has had an outstanding run of success, finding therapies for some of the most significant health issues of our time and generating strong returns as a result. These successes, both medical and business, were predicated on a strong model of productive R&D generating innovative products that drove growth and delivered considerable value to patients. Now, however, disruption and challenge are found throughout the industry in its thinning pipelines, expanding lists of stakeholders, narrowing distribution channels, and increasing regulatory and value requirements:

  • Despite an estimated $135 billion spent on R&D by biopharma companies in 2013, few have discovered new drugs with the market potential to replace revenue from those coming off patent.1 Additionally, the changing health care landscape has made it harder to extend the lifetime of billion-dollar drugs through slight modifications.
  • Changes in the health care landscape are also shifting the balance of power away from individual physicians and toward larger provider organizations and other non-traditional stakeholders, including accountable care organizations (ACOs), employers, and advocacy groups. This presents a challenge to traditional biopharma company marketing models.
  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), along with increasing scrutiny from commercial payers, are altering traditional payment models. New drugs that do not provide demonstrated comparative effectiveness or increased value over existing drug therapies will likely not be reimbursed at favorable price levels.

The industry is not at a standstill and is far from losing its profitability, but the pace of growth has slowed (figure 1) and margins have shrunk, causing biopharma leaders to consider how to best position their companies for success. The attractive business environment of the 1990s and 2000s is gone and in its place, a more complex, less certain, and likely more volatile operating environment has emerged.

As this situation has unfolded, ... read on here

rob halkes's insight:

The Pharma industry needs a reorientation to its total business: not an easy thing to do. The more so, while it has been performing the same routine in business for the past two decades at least.

Do Pharma top managers know their own inhibitions? Would they recognize when they misperceive old certainties as "quality for tomorrow"?
It will be a hard task for them - but one needs to change.. I wish them all best of success with this.

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Digital Listening Drives a New Relationship with Doctors

Digital Listening Drives a New Relationship with Doctors | New pharma |

The best customer relationships have always been based on a high level of trust, built upon a strong understanding of real customer needs. Novel digital technologies now enable the pharma industry to efficiently listen to each and every doctor, laying the foundations for success.

True pull-marketing needs individual customer segmentation

For the pharmaceutical industry, digital technology has enabled much more efficient and regular connectivity with its principal customers – the prescribers. But this increased level of dialogue between doctors and pharma is only useful if it is on mutually beneficial terms. Doctors want specific pieces of information, at the right time and via the right channels. The pharma industry wants to ensure doctors are clear on the benefits of its products.

Via Dinesh Chindarkar
rob halkes's insight:

For pharma, there's more to redefine their engagement with doctors, than just listening. I suggested a specific path to develop such:

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Five things big pharma can learn from the rare disease community

Five things big pharma can learn from the rare disease community | New pharma |

Companies in the rare disease space have learned lessons big pharma can use too:


1. Patient engagement starts in clinical trials

2. Silence isn't safe

3. Support must go beyond the brand

4. Don't wait for a crisis

5. True innovation begins with outcomes

Via Andrew Spong
rob halkes's insight:

We can guide pharma to innovate, but they must implement it themselves .. ;-)

Andrew Spong's curator insight, March 6, 2014 4:16 AM

A lovely piece by Wendy White from last week. Recommended.

Gary Monk's curator insight, March 6, 2014 12:00 PM

Interesting article

MyHealthShare's curator insight, March 8, 2014 7:00 AM

Five things big pharma can learn from the rare disease community | @andrewspong

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Tech Trends 2014, Social activation

Tech Trends 2014, Social activation | New pharma |
The power of social activation is unleashed when others advocate an organization’s message in their own words to their network.

Over the years, the focus of social business has shifted from measuring volume to monitoring sentiment and, now, toward changing perceptions. In today’s recommendation economy, companies should focus on measuring the perception of their brand and then on changing how people feel, share, and evangelize. Companies can activate their audiences to drive their message outward—handing them an idea and getting them to advocate it in their own words to their own network.

From passive to active tense

Organizations have spent the last several years chasing the tantalizing prospect of “social.” Within the enterprise, social represents a bastion of hope for productivity and collaboration—a chance to effectively navigate who knows what, who knows whom, how work gets done, and how decisions get made. We’re still in the opening frames of a broad wave of social-driven enterprise transformation,1 as a recent study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte confirms. That study revealed that 69 percent of executives thought social business would be critical to their organizations in the next three years.2

Social businesses3 ideally rally around well-defined business problems, supported by committed communities with well-defined incentives for participation. To take full advantage of this potential, age-old organizational constraints need to be identified and rewired. Hierarchies, biases, standardized operating procedures, rigid job descriptions, and other embodiments of institutional inertia can stunt progress.

Meanwhile, the flurry of activity around external social channels continues. Social media has become a frequent online destination, commanding 27 percent of global time spent on the web.4 Not surprisingly, social monitoring and listening were some of the earlier investments companies made in the social arena. Social efforts leaned on the enabling tools that allowed passive data collection, tracking the volume of surface-level activity and broad-stroke awareness—followers, likes, mentions, and click-throughs to their own corporate channels. As the numbers grew, premature victory was announced. But volume doesn’t tell you much—good, bad, or indifferent.

rob halkes's insight:

Great insights in this Deloitte blog on changing from passive to active use of social media. The more so, while it refers well to the research done by Deloitte in cooperation with MIT Sloan Management Review on the trends of "social" in business. Inspiring!

See also the download of the report!

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The third dimension in edetailing to pharma | Health Business Consult

The third dimension in edetailing to pharma | Health Business Consult | New pharma |

Health care professionals have more experience in selecting and processing digital information than the industry has experience in making it! Whereas information for healthcare professionals is basically about reliable and valid information, the format of it should be both appealing and interactively enough to gain and hold the interest of the professionals.


Indeed: “Pharma companies are far from realizing their App market potential,” is the conclusion of research done. See here. Seven in ten doctors even have a self-tracking patient, says Manhattan reserach, quoted here. See some other statistics on tele- and mhealth here. Health care is moving towards integrated care in eHealth: 76% of Patients Would Choose Telehealth Over Human Contact with their care provider! (survey).


There is a definite expectation among health care professionals about the impact of digital information to the quality of care. Beyond information on the drug itself, one is definitely in need of information about both background and consequences of using the drug in the perspective of practice of care: how would the drug facilitate the process of care, patients’ compliance, outcome of care and both patients’ and physicians’ satisfaction with their use.


Based upon the survey results above, one would like to add the third dimension: development!
Development of dynamic edetails is more crucial than to produce a good looking app. Apps need to further interactivity and engagement. They must stimulate the journey of the professional through the information about the drug, leading to connectedness both for persons of reference and for further information. Indeed the very relationship with other (multichannel) sites and communications is relevant to the attractiveness to target professionals.


But still another aspect is crucial to success in the long run: how does the organization respond to the challenges that edetailing poses to the firm’s current routines of promotion? Creating an app is one. But to handle it in promotion to doctors and other health professionals demands internal training and organization.

..It means that the design of the app and its use needs to follow the pace of individual learning and of internal change and development; a change that would also relate to development of internal culture of orientation: from an “inside-out product orientation”, to an “outside-in orientation on best practice of therapy”!

rob halkes's insight:

Read it :-)

Creating an app is one. But to handle it in promotion to doctors and other health professionals demands internal training and organization...It means that the design of the app and its use needs to follow the pace of individual learning and of internal change and development;..

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Patient groups don't trust pharma marketing. So what to do? #pharma #hcsmeu

Patient groups don't trust pharma marketing. So what to do? #pharma #hcsmeu | New pharma |
Every year, PatientView takes the temperature of patient groups around the world and delivers its verdict on the pharma business. This time around, survey respondents gave a thumbs-up to drugmakers' innovation and quality. They weren't as impressed, however, with pharma marketing.

Via Lionel Reichardt / le Pharmageek
rob halkes's insight:

This research has also touched on patients' views on the industry. See also the more elaborated findings of the same research by Patient View here

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Integration should be the trend of health care development 2014 | Health Business Consult

Integration should be the trend of health care development 2014 | Health Business Consult | New pharma |

Health care is very much „in transition”. Have a quick look at the trends in health care 2014 . Now, try to predict what the outcomes will be of all these well intended developments?
Due to changes in structure of processes, organizations, patients’ journeys, devices, drugs, apps, telemonitoring – health care will run the risk of becoming highly fragmented, maybe even chaotic. Let’s hope that professionals and their patients still do know their way around.

Can this be prevented? As costs will drive change for the coming years, I guess not. Health care is fundamentally being transformed. Why? Because it has been righteously disrupted and it will take time before a new satisfactory system has emerged. Do we need to wait for that? No! We have to see how we can construe things in a more informed perspective. ..

..there is a sure direction to give that constitutes the basic principle for moving forward: both because it is immanent to all needed developments to better care, and because it creates the opportunity to developments in oversee-able steps of change. Every party can draw its own choice on this to design a proper blue print to their process of change.

This principle directive is: Integrate, integrate, integrate.

Integration in care is about the unification of both parties and activities, aided by technology, devices, information and medications, to create better care for health and its outcomes.
Integration will lead to better connections of different partners who are needed for a specific path or process of care. It will stimulate collaboration and coordination of activities between them. They will aim for better outcomes and higher effectiveness of care. It will lead to opportunities for more efficient arrangements of expertise and allocation of capacity of care givers.
With the compound of the interests of the key players in care (and I mean of course, patients included), costs can be more rationally arranged and may lead to lowering prices of care per patient per year. Also, it will inspire higher transparency of processes and clarity to patients about details of the caring activities themselves.

There are three different kinds of integration. Each, open to start with. So, any party may pick and start its own game changer. Even any couple of parties as intended partners, may do so too. Choose the most easiest entry to your future development together and enjoy the ride!

1. Integration by Co-Operation
2. Integration by Co-Creation. 3. Integration by “Experience Co-Creation”.


rob halkes's insight:


rob halkes's curator insight, February 19, 2014 4:05 AM

See what you think of this: Can it be done? Will different and several parties be as bold to set things into motion. We know there are. Why don't you?

Sven Awege's curator insight, February 28, 2014 5:15 AM

Excellent read to understand the complexities :-)

Marcia Marinho's curator insight, March 8, 2014 6:31 AM

interoperabilidade é a palavra chave em saúde hoje.

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Corporate Reputation of Pharma 2013 - The Patient Perspective

Corporate Reputation of Pharma 2013 - The Patient Perspective | New pharma |

Press Releas - See here

[Chech the release for more stats!]

A global survey, conducted mid-November to mid-December 2013 Includes the views of 800 patient groups from 43 countries and differing specialtiesPatient-group feedback on the corporate reputation of the pharma industry during 2013Patient-group feedback on the corporate reputation of 33 pharma companies in 2013Results for 2013 are compared with those of 2012, and 2011

This independent study, funded by PatientView, represents 800 patient groups’ latest impressions on the corporate reputation of 33 individual pharma companies and of the pharma industry as a whole. Results for 2013 are compared with those of 2012 and 2011. For the purposes of this report, the phrase ‘corporate reputation’ is defined as the extent to which pharma companies are meeting the expectations of patients and patient groups. The 33 companies examined 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 Eli Lilly (Lilly) l Gilead Sciences l GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) l Grũnenthal l Janssen l Lundbeck l Menarini l Merck & Co (the US company) l Merck Group (the German company) l Novartis l Novo Nordisk l Pfizer l Roche l Sanofi l Servier l Shire l Stada Arzneimittel l Takeda l Teva l UCB l ViiV

The pharma industry ranks 7th in the league table of 8 healthcare industries, 2013

35.4% of the respondent patient groups stated that multinational pharma companies had either an “excellent” or “good” reputation in 2013, placing pharma 7th in the league table of healthcare industries, below biotech companies, generic drug manufacturers, non-for-profit health insurers, the private healthcare sector, medical- device companies, and retail pharmacists. Pharma, however, has a better reputation than commercial health insurers, which rank last. The reputation of multinational pharma, as perceived by patient groups, was similar in 2013 to its status in 2012. However, the industry’s result is still well below that reported in 2011. 41% of respondent patient groups stated, at the time, that the pharma industry had an “excellent” or “good” reputation in 2011.

Pharma-industry business activities

Pharma continues to retain a “good”, or sometimes an “excellent”, reputation for innovation, and for the production of useful products (acknowledged by nearly two thirds, 65%-66%, of patient groups). However, only a minority of patient groups said that the industry was “excellent” or “good” at most of its other business activities in 2013. When comparing 2013’s results with those pharma attained during its high point in 2011, significant shortfalls are apparent. The industry still has a way to go to recover position in three areas of business: relationships with the media, ability to have ethical marketing practices, and acting with integrity.

The performance of individual pharma companies for six indicators of corporate reputation, 2013

Indicator 1: patient centricity

At a time when nearly every pharma company is claiming to embrace the patient though new patient-centric strategies, this indicator serves as a useful reminder about just how much progress companies still need to make. Each respondent patient group was asked to name the 3 companies they believed had the best, most- effective patient-centred strategy in 2013.

Indicator 2: high-quality information for patients

Each respondent patient group was asked to name 3 companies they believed provided the best patient information in 2013.

Indicator 3: patient safety

Each respondent patient group was asked to name the 3 companies they believed had the best record for patient safety in 2013.

Indicator 4: high-quality, useful products

Each respondent patient group was asked to name the 3 companies they believed supplied the best, most high-quality products (of most use to patients) in 2013.

Indicator 5: transparency

Each respondent patient group was asked to name the 3 companies they believed had the best record of transparency with healthcare stakeholders in 2013.

Indicator 6: integrity

Each respondent patient group was asked to name the 3 companies they believed had the highest level of integrity in 2013.

The overall performance of individual pharma companies for corporate reputation, 2013 and 2012

Top-10 company rankings for corporate reputation (patient perceptions)

Rank in 2013

- ViiV 1st

- Gilead 2nd

- AbbVie 3rd

- Pfizer 4th

- Janssen 5th

- Roche 6th

- Eli Lilly 7th

- Menarini 8th

- Novartis 9th

- Novo Nordisk 10th

Rising stars in 2013

Three other companies stand out as a result of the significant upward shifts they have made in the corporate-reputation rankings. These are the Italy-based Menarini, which jumped from 19th position in 2012 to 8th in 2013 (up 11 slots); France-headquartered Sanofi, which has moved from 23rd position in 2012 to 15th in 2013 (up 8 places); and the Israel-based generics-come-research firm Teva, which also rose 8 spaces (up from 28th in 2012 to 21st in 2013). Although respondent patient groups do not provide The Corporate Reputation survey with the reasons for their selections, it is possible to speculate that Menarini’s success is due (at least in part) to its rapid corporate expansion programme, with extensive acquisitions and partnerships worldwide. Sanofi, in addition to undergoing significant restructuring, has embraced two sizeable biotech firms, and its delivery of new products and a new patient-centric strategy has been interpreted positively by patient groups. Teva has made patient centricity a cornerstone of its gameplan, and, on the whole, patient groups tend to be more favourably disposed to generics companies than to pharma (because the generics business promotes wider access to drugs for patients than pharma).

Press release from PatientView Page 5 of 5

Two further companies with successful corporate reputations are Roche and Eli Lilly. Both inhabit the top-10 positions, and each has moved up two slots since 2012—Roche from 8th to 6th, and Lilly from 9th to 7th.

Falling stars in 2013

A number of companies (notably Lundbeck and Novartis) have seen their positions decline.

What causes pharma company reputations to rise or fall?

The Corporate Reputation of Pharma ‘league tables’ provide feedback on the patient perceptions of each individual pharma company during one particular year. To enable PatientView to turn these patient perceptions into hard, comprehensible figures, large numbers of patient groups need to be included in the study. 800 patient organisations took the time and effort to complete the survey for 2013. As far as is possible to tell, patient groups are influenced by five main factors when balancing up the reputation of a pharma company:

1. A good portfolio of products that brings hope to people suffering from the medical conditions familiar to the patient group.

2. Media coverage about the company (allied to comments received on the ‘grapevine’ from peer patient groups about the behaviour of a corporate).

3. A sense among the patient group that a company is truly putting patients at the heart of its business approach. The company needs to demonstrate this fact, not simply articulate a desire to be patient centric.

4. A perception among the patient group of a year-on-year positive change in the company’s investment stance across the patient arena—whether it is support for specific patient organisations, for big campaigns, or for patient-centred research.

5. A feeling among the patient group that a company’s relationship with it (and with peer patient groups) can be relied upon to be long, rather than short, term.

Since the circumstances of individual pharma companies can fluctuate significantly, so, too, can their reputations (as perceived by patient groups). An interesting analogy might be with a company’s share price, which can rise or fall reflecting the market’s perception of the health of the company’s financial future.

rob halkes's insight:

Grand developments in Pharma's reputattion among patients!
Needed Information! Check it

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Twitter Recognizes Boehringer Ingelheim | HealthWorks Collective

Twitter Recognizes Boehringer Ingelheim | HealthWorks Collective | New pharma |

With its use of Twitter, Boehringer Ingelheim has cut a path through the long grass for the rest of the pharmaceutical industry. ..

It is great to therefore see the first business case study from the pharmaceutical industry appear on the website, featuring the work that social media pioneer Boehringer Ingelheim has been doing in using the social media channel to connect with other healthcare stakeholders.

The specific case study presented by Twitter is from the #COPDchat tweetchats that Boehringer Ingelheim has been running, but could equally have covered its engaging work in the atrial fibrillation or lung cancer space (which I am proud to have been involved in). ...

And the results?

Well, the quantitative stats are pretty impressive. 1.7m tweetchat impressions from the hour’s live event, almost 500 mentions of Boehringer at the Congress and 1,200 new followers secured.

But the real story here is in the qualitative feedback gained from this tweetchat, and the numerous others Boehringer has run. Through such discussion the company gained valuable feedback on the market, which was spur-of-the-moment and reactive to developments at the Congress itself, in addition to opening doors with new organisations and individuals that can help its mission in the COPD space.

Twitter identified three key lessons from Boehringer’s work on tweetchats for other pharmaceutical companies:

  1. Align such online discussion with relevant offline events, like the Congress.
  2. Involve key internal stakeholders to ensure regulatory compliance.
  3. Be innovative – don’t be afraid to be the first in your sector rather than waiting for others.

With such prominence, quite rightly so, being given to Boehringer’s work it is time for other pharma companies to step up and also start driving such activities. Every pharma company is talking about being customer- and patient-focussed, and indeed the individuals working within these companies are passionate about making a difference, so communications teams need to start facilitating more of this work.

rob halkes's insight:

Great to see a business case from a Pharma company using Twitter as one of its channels. It comes not cheap but there're the results too.

Congrats to John Pugh social media expert at Boehringer Ingelheim, thanks for the blog: Paul Tunnah, pharmaphorum

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Managed Markets Operation PatientCentricity

Managed Markets Operation PatientCentricity | New pharma |
As the Affordable Care Act rolls out, the behaviorists at MicroMass surveyed stakeholders about the impact on industry. Jessica Brueggeman sorts out the diverse views and asks Can healthcare reform lead pharma to operationalize its patient focus

Patient centricity. Real-world value. Patient-reported outcomes. These phrases have become a fixture in today's healthcare environment, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. But what do these concepts mean and how are they affecting the way key healthcare stakeholders think and work every day?

To gather a diverse and comprehensive perspective on the impact of healthcare reform on pharma, MicroMass conducted a qualitative research study, speaking with 21 individual healthcare stakeholders, including patients, physicians, practice managers, hospital administrators, marketers, payers and allied healthcare professionals.

The findings highlight a way for pharma to set an industry standard by defining and operationalizing the concept of patient centricity...

New measures of success

Healthcare reform sparks polarizing views among stakeholders...

Amid these views, a commonality is the belief that patient-centricity will yield success. The challenge is in how that is defined. For patients, success centers around a positive experience with staff and providers, being included in treatment decisions and having questions answered. Providers gauge success based on their ability to provide quality care, although definitions of “quality” vary among clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction and practice success/business metrics.

The lack of clarity presents an opportunity for pharma. Unless pharma better aligns itself with patient and provider definitions of success, however, its commercial success could be in jeopardy.

Pharma cannot passively stand by, observing the impact of change. Nor should it expect guidance from non-industry organizations on its role in a value-based environment. ..

The path to patient-centricity

1. Leverage partnerships to establish a consensus definition of patient-centricity ..

2. Re-think the current business model ..


3. Deliver value-based solutions (some examples)


What does it take for pharma to make these leaps? First, we have to set aside the traditional playbook and wait for long-term benefits, to take risks, and to be agile and try new things. Then we have to put aside the desire for complete ownership and engage in true collaboration to share authorship of impactful solutions.

The time is now. Change isn't on the way, it's here...

rob halkes's insight:

Pharma is directed here in fundamental new ways of creating new market approach. I cannot state enough how relevant that is. Howwever, it needs both a new approach to its (key) customers, AND a new approach to its value proposal: integrated offering.

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Social Media: Have We Reached the Tipping Point?

Social Media: Have We Reached the Tipping Point? | New pharma |

Has tipping point for social media in pharma finally arrived? By Rio Longacre and David Mun, with special thanks to Timothy Moore.

It’s no big secret the pharmaceutical industry lags way behind other sectors when it comes to leveraging social media to meet business objectives. A big reason for this has long been a lack of clear guidelines from FDA.

This month FDA released its draft guidance on the use of “Interactive Promotional Media,” ending several years of speculation and finally providing the industry with substantial guidance on its use of digital media. Though this draft guidance document is currently being distributed for comment purposes only, for the first time it sets out a clear position on tools and technologies that allow for real-time communications and interactions, which includes social media.

In the new guidelines, FDA explains that pharma firms should identify the parts of websites that are interactive and allow for real-time communications, in addition describing its communications within these third-party sites. On a monthly basis, marketers will also need to submit a Form FDA 2253 or Form FDA 2301 for websites that include interactive or real-time communications. To facilitate the submission process, FDA will allow multiple sites and the corresponding documents within a single form — a stark departure from its policies governing static promotional pieces.  ...

Many feel this recent news will mean the proverbial tipping point has been reached, and pharma will finally take the plunge in social media. If so it will certainly be about time, as social media has become pervasive in our lives and, let’s face it, pharma is coming more than fashionably late to this party.

According to a recent Pew Internet study, as of September of last year 73% of online adults use social networking sites. As of 2012, close to three-quarters of Fortune 500 companies were active on Twitter, with more than 80% of executives at these firms believing social media engagement actually led to increased sales. Across industries, an astounding 93% of marketers report they use social media for business.

Despite years of exposure and ample case studies of success from other sectors, however, most pharma companies don’t currently have much of a social media strategy and the vast majority enjoys a rudimentary presence at best. To drive home this fact, in a recent survey more than 90% of 88 executives representing Big Pharma firms said “no” when asked: Does your company engage potential or current customers via social media?

By and large, pharma companies have been extremely conservative in their approach to social media. In addition to a lack of clear guidelines, many firms have kept the medium at arm’s length due mainly compliance concerns related to Adverse Event reporting and potential off-label discussion between reps and patients taking place in a public forum...

While this strategy may have kept stakeholders in compliance happy, generally speaking it has been extremely short-sighted and resulted in significant missed opportunities for the industry in terms of branding and generating goodwill with its customers. If anything, it has helped fuel the perception of an industry more concerned with protecting itself from liability than responding to the needs and concerns of its customers.

On the face of it, pharma is not alone in being heavily regulated. ...

Relative to the US, in the EU pharma companies, in collaboration with regulators, are making greater efforts to leverage social media to monitor adverse events. More specifically, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) has been created in the aim to build electronic reporting platforms and mobile apps to enable patient reporting of adverse events to regulatory authorities themselves. One can certainly speculate whether these practices will make their way over the Atlantic.

When reviewed in its entirety, it’s not difficult to conclude that compliance issues alone fail to explain fully pharma’s disdain for the medium. If nothing else, a significant reason for the industry’s hands-off approach most likely stems from pervasive skepticism of the channel’s overall benefit for an industry that generally does not usually have direct relationships with its end-customers.

In light of evolving consumer preferences, this argument looks increasingly silly and out of date. Pharma must accept the fact the relationship it enjoys with its customers doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Its customers are also customers of firms in other industries, and consequently bring a high level of service expectations based on these other non-pharma interactions. In terms of providing a positive and rewarding customer experience, pharma is now competing with these brands and must attempt to live up to the lofty standards they set.

And let’s face it, consumers are talking about pharma companies whether they are using social media or not. And believe it or not, pharma’s customers actually want pharma to play a bigger role in social media-sphere. As proof, Manhattan Research recently reported that 42% of online consumers think pharma companies should be involved in online health communities.

Now that social media guidelines are falling into place, in coming months we can probably expect to see a growing shift in mentality across the industry as firms recalibrate their marketing strategy to include a social component. Due to heavy regulations and ever-present compliance concerns, of course, jumping on the social media bandwagon will still require a measured and deliberate approach. But it will require an approach nevertheless...!


rob halkes's insight:

Noway back now for pharma to engage with the public through several channels AND to define what thier intention is with it.

Simple as that, but not easily implemented. In fact, it relates directly to the way the commercial appriach is redefined. If not, I fear the shale out in the market will hit.. ;-)

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