Science is Beautiful Blog

Healthcare Reform and Pharmaceutical Marketers – Sweethearts?

Posted by John Kouten, CEO

Feb 14, 2011 2:14:00 PM

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As healthcare reform lumbers forward, the healthcare and life sciences industry will experience considerable negative effects.  

  • A greater emphasis on generic drugs
  • Reducing disease treatment and increasing disease prevention
  • Little or no time for personal interaction between pharmaceutical sales representatives and physicians
  • Shrinking ranks of physicians
  • Third-party payers (Insurance, employers, government) will dictate treatment guidelines – not physicians
While some negative effects are already emerging, and many are predicting the worst, our friends across the pond have been living in this healthcare environment for many decades.  And, if we look at the EU, it possesses a very robust life sciences industry, and is home to some of the most creative and successful pharmaceutical marketing and communications firms on the planet.

So, in recognition of Valentine’s Day, can these two opposing forces ever be sweethearts?  Perhaps not, however, as pharmaceutical marketing communications experts, we can see where our expertise can help a market in transition.

More interactive selling tools – A reduction in real numbers of physicians will reduce our ability to reach doctors with personal selling.  Therefore, pharmaceutical marketers will need to develop more creative interactive tools to reach target physicians.  

Patient and caregiver education – The new environment will give rise to a more active patient.  Individuals and their caregivers will be more responsible for their own care.  The need for web-based, interactive tools to help educate patients and caregivers is expanding.

Personalized care on the rise – While healthcare reform is reducing the focus on drug development – especially “me too” drugs -- a major renaissance is taking place in the diagnostic and devices industry. These specialty life sciences sectors tout cost reduction, disease prevention and personalize disease treatment.  These companies need help communicating these benefits via increased traditional and interactive communication tools.

EMRs are A-OK – The emergence of electronic medical records is proceeding on pace with the convergence of media.  As patients learn how control their electronic health records, they will have greater influence over their treatments.  Pharmaceutical marketers are beginning to leverage physician offices, in-store clinics, online and free-standing pharmacies, and hospitals as touch points for patient interaction.  Pharma marketers should provide Interactive tools and smart phone apps to help patients leverage their EMRs to better manage their own health.

Finally, as markets change, healthcare communications experts need to be in the forefront of these changes.  Our knowledge of impending legislative, regulatory, policy, and industry changes enable us to identify threats and turn them into opportunities for our clients.  

Topics: Healthcare communications, healthcare public relations, US pharmaceutical market, biotechnology and medical technology companies, personalized medicine, JFK Communications, healthcare reform


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