Pharma Budgets Soaring, but Marketers Closely Watching Washington

According to the 2019 MM&M Deloitte Consulting Healthcare Marketers Trend Report, marketing budgets increased 26% when compared to the previous fiscal year. The mean budget jumped from $8.3 million to $10.5 million, and 92% of respondents reported a year-over-year increase! This growth has been fueled by a record number of approvals of new treatments, as well as the Trump Administration’s Laissez-faire approach to the industry. This recent growth, however, faces numerous challenges in the near-future. The political climate present when such issues are addressed will strongly influence their outcome, and experts have agreed political action is inevitable.

Joe Plevelich, a commercial operations executive for a pharmaceutical company commented:

“If you look at some of the leading potential contenders for the presidency and some of the platforms they are trying to establish, [many] are talking about better controls and transparencies around pharma pricing and profits. I think there are definitely changes afoot. Whoever is going to be in power is going to have an impact on pharma pricing and our recent ability to continue to raise pricing on a whim.”

As we embark upon an active and critical time in healthcare regulation, development, and modernization, both democrats and republicans agree pharma is an industry worthy of attention.

The following have been identified as key discussions to watch as we approach 2020:

  • A reduction or elimination of tax deductions for marketing expenses (expected this year)
  • Requiring list prices of drugs to be included on TV advertisements
  • Price caps on drugs (Congress has already opened hearing on rising drug prices)
  • Investigations into sales and marketing practices

Why It’s Hot

The outcomes of these and similar healthcare regulatory topics will strongly impact pharma marketing budgets, and will determine if they will remain as fruitful as they are today. Many are concerned an unfavorable decision in any of these issues, could lead to significant change. Pharma marketers should remained tuned into the latest developments in these and other healthcare related issues, as well as the 2020 presidential election.

Source

Pharma Trend Spotting for 2018

Going into the final month of the year, we should take a look at what could impact pharma marketers in 2018, and it’s identified half a dozen high-level trends for the year ahead.

Those trends range from maturing technology innovations to marketing around patient hero stories that inspire but also normalize people with chronic conditions. And they’re “changing the opportunities and focus for our clients,” Leigh Householder, managing director of innovation at inVentiv Health, said.

Some of the big-theme trends originated in 2017 or even earlier, but they’re just now maturing to opportunity status. For instance, technology innovations like artificial intelligence and augmented reality will begin to play a bigger role in healthcare next year as they move from novelty experiments to real-world tools. A pilot program by England’s NHS, for instance, uses AI as a first contact point for patients and puts a machine in the place of what would traditionally be a human healthcare provider, Householder noted. The NHS pilot actually incorporates another trend, too: the shifting front door to healthcare.

The shifting front door, whether a new kind of technology interface or pharmacists taking on a larger role in ongoing contact and care of patients, has been evolving for years, but it’s become more important for pharma companies to understand and incorporate it into their strategies.

Another trend she pointed to is the emergence of hero stories, in the past year showcased by individuals who broke through with poignant or meaningful tales of helping others, such as boaters in Texas who braved dangerous hurricane floodwaters to help victims. In healthcare and pharma, those can manifest as showing more real people who are living complex lives with chronic diseases, for instance—people who are simply “living normal,” Householder said.  MRM has partnered with WebMD to showcase how patients with bipolar depression live, and it’s very compelling.

Source:

WebMD presents Bipolar Disorder: In Our Own Words

“You can imagine why this is happening now when so many once life-ending diagnoses have become chronic diseases. Whether you’re talking about COPD or cancer, cystic fibrosis or AIDS, people are living for decades longer than maybe they ever expected,” she said, pointing to an outspoken advocate, Claire Wineland, who has cystic fibrosis. Wineland has talked to media outlets about “‘what happens when you have an illness and you’re never going to be healthy? Does that mean you’re never going to be anything other than the sick kid?’ We’re increasingly hearing from voices like that of people who just want to normalize disease,” Householder said.

Another example is the introduction of Julia, a muppet with autism, on “Sesame Street.” Julia helps kids understand what autism might look like in another child, and although she has differences, she’s just another one of the gang.

Householder is working on a follow-up white paper about what these trends mean for pharma, but she offered some initial thoughts about ways pharma can adapt. Understanding how people use technology and creating better user interfaces more quickly, for instance, is one area where pharma can improve. Another is at the new and shifting point of care.

“In the new journey in healthcare, how do we be relevant, useful and impactful at the new points of care? Whether that means an artificial intelligence interface, a call delivery of a prescription or a true care interaction with a pharmacist, how are we going to take the plans we have today and evolve them to the places that people are increasingly receiving care and making healthcare decisions?” she said.

Why It’s Hot

As pharma marketers, we need to evolve with how people interact with not only brands but more importantly, conditions.  Offering support in a variety of ways is a smart way to ensure that patients get as much help as they need.

 

Source: https://www.fiercepharma.com/marketing/pharma-marketing-trends-for-2018-include-hero-stories-technology-maturity-and-frontline

Merck And Alexa challenge to solve diabetes care crisis

Diabetes is a scourge. And Merck through the gauntlet down. (Though only for $25K).

Reviewing the snippet of the infographic in the hero photo only teases the immensity of the diabetes  problem. It is without a doubt THE health issue in our country, and sadly, for most of the world. The complexity of the condition is endless — it touches nearly every organ — eyes, feet, heart, kidney — and part of our body’s system in a negative way.

One truth is well known: patients need help with this complex condition. Frankly, many diabetics “game” the system with their medications so they can maintain at least a portion of the unhealthy lifestyle that got them. For others, despite good effort, many patients do a terrible job staying on their medication, or following their exercise and diet regimen, and thus, the codition progresses where the costs to their body and society are overwhelming. But while some of these issues are ingrained, there are many people who would welcome a helping hand — however it is packaged.

So, Merck, makers of several effective diabetes medications, decided to differentiate itself by thinking like a consumer company:

The Alexa Challenge. The Challenge calls on innovators to create Alexa voice-enabled solutions to improve the lives of those with type 2 diabetes

They just announced their finalists.

Why is this hot?

  • Each finalist cover a wide range of potential applications and technology platforms.
  • While several of the large pharma companies have done something similar, the maturation of Merck’s approach teamed the leap of ease and sophistication of technology has Merck doing it the right way.
  • This needs to be watched; from a marketing perspective, diabetes drug manufacturers have often been quite innovative. But they often did so internally and with their PR group. This smells of a change in direction towards the ascendance of consumer technology and consumer thinking.

Beyond The Pill is moving to Game On!

Can conservative Pharma companies becomes Gamers? Although a large investment by Merck and AMGEN was announced several months ago, the repercussions are now being felt. This could help open up the long pent-up demand for innovation by Pharma manufacturers.

The investment news came last summer, as quoted in FierceBiotech: “Akili Interactive Labs, the Boston-based startup developing nonpharmacological therapeutics for various cognitive disorders like autism and Alzheimer’s disease, got an $11.9 million boost in funding, raising its total Series B proceeds to $42.4 million.” Basically, they use gamification to improve cognitive function.

Recently, the new Pharma and gamer partners announced their first accomplishment, EVO, the game:

The first game application for children with a cognitive disorder has proven highly effective. This gives the marketers a differentiating aspect to their Rx. Being a fact-based industry, this is big news.

Why is this hot?

  • The terms “Beyond The Pill” has become the industries code for “innovation” — trying to offer some technology or service to make their drug stand-out in the minds of doctors and consumers. “Innovation” is a word that is intensely frightening to most Pharma marketers. For several years, as more and more blockbusters (drugs with sales over $1 billion) become generics (70% of ALL drugs are now generics), Pharma has been haphazardly explored partnerships and technologies, but has often failed due to cultural entropy and conservatism in the C-suite. This is a first.
  • Change needs to come from the C-suite: $11 million is a lot of money, especially for an industry so conservative and ROI-obsessed.  Every company, even MRM-McCann clients, are looking for ways to engage patients from clinical trials through drug adherence — the entire product lifecycle.
  • I have been “selling” into one of our Pharma clients an Artificial Intelligence platform from a company that did Sgt Star on the U.S. Army site; we have had several meetings to try and issue AI as their Beyond The Pill strategy for launch of a new ADHD drug; this success with Akili may make that path easier.

Lung cancer? Complex and scary. So how should Pharma engage patients?

It is often said that when a person hears the word “cancer” anything following goes unheard; the topic is truly that scary and that emotional. In our culture, until recently, lung cancer = death. Yet now cancer treatments are going through a revolution; in some cases many can live with this disease – even recover from it! Several giant pharmaceutical companies are investing heavily in this new immuno-therapy science. How do you communicate that complex science to patients? Especially when then U.S. government claims the average American reads at a 6th grade level.

Given the high expense and other issues patients have, connecting with them and caregivers is crucial to creating product awareness and advantage But the brand-centricity usual to Pharma has given way to patient-centricity, forcing the industry to explore new engagement strategies. Here are a few:

  1. Start with science. Merck has created the “Test. Talk. Take action” campaign. In a short animated video, they do their best to simplify the complex, then drive the patient to discuss with their doctor — arming them with testimonials and discussion guides.

http://www.testtalktakeaction.com/

Merck2.

2. Dumb it down: Novartis uses even simpler animation to lecture you (a British accent helps make it acceptable) on how cancer works and how immuno-therapy works. Think of that 6th grade reading level and view the video with that limitation. Is it too dumb? Complex that is rendered simply?

https://youtu.be/sdXXmlc5GCs

3. Be Human: AstraZeneca (led by Richard’s story….even his Pinterest postings covering his journey to recovery!) The UX is well done and the content of text and video stories is quite emotional and compelling.

https://www.lvng.com/

https://www.lvng.com/richards-rays.html

The singular focus on the humanity of suffering and treating lung cancer is a very lean-in experience. AstraZeneca gives voice to the miracles these treatments create and engages across several Social Media platforms. Now we are getting to the essence of Humanity at it’s most raw and hopeful.

Why is this hot? Disease education from pharma companies minus mentioning any specific brand is not a new strategy. What is different, is the overt use of humanity, interactive education, and Social Media – separate or mashed together. This shows that these companies are trying to educate, and in doing so, motivate patients to ask for their therapy — the early stages of true consumer marketing: engage, be personally relevant and drive-to-sale. For a highly conservative industry, this is a good evolution.

Last, this has the foreshadowing of a disruptor. Pharma sales reps for decades had easy access to doctors to deliver scientific and branded messages; today, access to those doctors is under 50%. Is it possible that a well-informed, empowered patient can actually act as a proxy for a sales force rep. that can’t get in the hospital door? Is this a movement to make the patient their own sales rep?

Awareness Campaign Takes Human Approach

Merck & Co. has a plan for boosting its immuno-oncology treatment, Keytruda, in head-and-neck cancer. And it relies on patients making plans of their own.

The New Jersey-based pharma giant has teamed up with Pro Football Hall of Famer and head-and-neck cancer survivor Jim Kelly for a new awareness campaign, “Your Cancer Game Plan.” The effort focuses on encouraging patients and their loved ones to craft support strategies, taking into account their emotional, nutritional and communication needs.

The particularities of head-and-neck cancer can hit patients both physically and emotionally. The disease sometimes hinders their ability to talk, triggers changes in their facial features or makes it difficult to eat, a Merck spokesperson explained in an email interview.

“Having a ‘game plan’ can help patients and their support teams be prepared for those kinds of challenges and complexities,” the spokesperson said.

Kelly, for his part, knows those “special challenges” firsthand. “My experience taught me so much about the importance of emotional support and taking care of myself, and I hope that by sharing my experience, I can inspire others to take action and know their game plan,” he said in a statement.

Merck first won FDA approval for its cancer star Keytruda in the disease back in August, and until now its patient-education activities have centered on providing information through the Keytruda product website and patient brochures. Going forward, the company’s goal is to continue the new awareness campaign “for some time,” the spokesperson said.

Why It’s Hot

Although the brand is ultimately becoming more widely known, the approach that Merck is taking is more human than many pharma ads out there.  They’re not simply promoting their drug and talking about side effects- they are promoting the campaign by trying to help people prepare and cope with their illness and what can happen to them.  Many pharma brands forget that they’re not talking to a condition- they’re talking to people, with big physical and emotional needs- ESPECIALLY when it comes to cancer.  By becoming a support system (or helping their patients build one), a brand becomes more than just  pill you take… they become a trusted resource.  There should be more brands doing this in the space.

 

Source: http://www.fiercepharma.com/marketing/merck-recruits-football-star-jim-kelly-to-help-head-and-neck-cancer-patients-craft-their

3D Printing pushes the boundary by creating an entire rib cage

What can’t a 3D Printer do? A 54-year old Spanish man suffering from cancer — chest wall carcinoma it is called — had to have his entire rib cage removed as part of his treatment. But instead of a debilitated and crippled patient, the surgical team had another answer. The Spanish medical team sent his CT scan to a 3D-printing company called Anatomics in Australia.

Here is the story as told on the Doctor’s Channel and YouTube:

Why is this hot? As with so many technologies that are moving from concept to reality, 3D Printing has been a topic of high expectation and wide discussion in healthcare — when will it print skin, organs, how far can we take it? The other trend here is the globalization of healthcare. The digital revolution of communication allows for nearly instant connection between teams that may have never been able to benefit each other — let alone a patient!

Anatomics makes so many types of body implants, replacements, enhancements, it is like looking at the GE of 3D Printing.

anamtomics h. page h sauce 9.18

True, there is a Frankenstein question that one has to ask: how many of my body parts will end up being replaced as I age or get sick? But if you are the patient laying there wondering what life will be like, whether you will have a life at all, a manufactured set of ribs made in Australia seems like a moment of light in the darkness. In the end, all healthcare advances are the advancement of hope.

 

 

 

Do you “trust” Big Pharma? Do you care? Innovation.org bought to you by PhRMA lobbying group

Reputation plays a big role in many industries. For Big Pharma, each year brings a new corporate reputation survey that places the industry one notch above car salesmen and insurance companies. While there are many reasons for this – from the regulatory handcuffs of the FDA, to DTC-ads with their scary voice-overs, or frustration over drugs being too expensive to afford — there is a clear need to try and let the industry tell its story.

Thus, www.innovation.org. Here is the home of the industries “story.” HS Innovation.org h.page 8.27There is a ton of information, interactivity, mobile-friendly content. Just one of the top three tiles is an interactive guide to understanding clinical trials — one of the industries biggest issues due to poor patient recruitment and that they take so long and cost so much; next to that, articles and slideshow carousels on innovation and the future. Just from the home page, you can educate yourself with content that has never before been aggregated and delivered in such a consumer-friendly User Experience.

HS Innovation.org top 3 tiles

HS Clinical Eco-system 8.27

Why is this hot? Biopharma/Life Sciences is an enormous and incredibly complex and little understood industry. This content-rich Web site may seem like the industry is pulling back the curtain: but is it believable? At the very least, if you want to get an education on many aspects of the industry, this would be the place to do it.

This new site, www.innovation.org was created by the industry lobbying trade group, PhRMA. While their key audience may be politicians, policy-makers and such, this site was clearly created for patients and those in the public who relish information and any potential transparency that comes with it.

Oddly enough, while reputation can have a direct correlation to trusting a company’s product, it has little meaning or impact in Biopharma/Life Sciences. Most patients have no idea what company makes a drug; and most doctors, while aware, are driven by other more quantitative factors like clinical data.

So we have to ask the right questions: While it is very engaging and easy-to-navigate does it actually help the industry reputation? Or is it a self-serving content strategy served up with good UX? Or more realistically, will patients appreciate the content but cherry-pick what they believe, or not — this is an established behavior when searching for drug information…cull from a dozen sources, weigh the results and synthesize an opinion.

Perhaps the real strategy here was not to enhance reputation or gain consumer trust, but to just add one more source/voice to the conversation. In this world of too much information, they have decided that to join the discussion with credible, easy-to-understand content, thus they gain a share-of-Influence, while still striving to raise their credibility.

Breaking down the healthcare walls: TEMPLE adds Digital Health Center.

A hospital with a Digital Health Center? A surgeon who creates Apps? This may be a first for the industry and a harbinger of things to come. This new Digital Health Center was created by one of TEMPLE’s leading thoracic surgeons — who in turn has a company that creates that partners with the hospital to create a wide range of Apps, the first of which has been hugely successful for their COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) patients.

Clearly, both this surgeon and the TEMPLE Hospital system is taking a step out of its comfort zone and venturing into unknown territory. Or perhaps, they are creating a new model that turns truly embraces the entire digital health system. Doctor Criner explains it all in this short video interview:

 Why is this hot? The U.S healthcare system is over a trillion dollars in revenue, costs, development, investment…and more to come. The acceleration of change in the entire system is an outcome of the Affordable Care Act. While medical innovation in surgery is at the heart of what hospitals do, individual digital innovation is not.

For clients in Biopharma who have been slow to embrace their own Digital Transformation, this is the sort of news that would get a smart CEO to pick up the phone and say: “How can we work together?”

Just look at the company (http://www.hge.healthcare/) Doctor Criner has created; it has a profound Mission statement, and serves up proof through the effectiveness of it’s COPD patient App:

HGE Mission H Sauce 8.7H Sauce TEMPLE HGE COPD 8.7.15

Doctor Criner may not be alone — in fact Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic and others are working hard to develop technology infrastructure. This is different. This is a doctor and a hospital that seems to get that “digital” is a philosophy not a laptop. To truly serve patients, control costs, and embrace the future, it starts with developments like this. Doctor Criner and TEMPLE “get it”: the future is here. Grab it. the early adopters have a better chance at market advantage as hospital systems compete against each other.

Interoperability, the Holy Grail of the ACA, is when every hospital, EHR, medical record, remote tele-health, can all communicate and share medical and patient records. In some ways, Doctor Criner has moved the world an inch closer by creating a link between innovation at the hospital and in the hands of patients.

Mirror, mirror on wall, can you diagnose me?

Wize mirror for disease detection hot sauce 7.26

According a new report from Kaiser Health News, online diagnostic tools are not accurate. In fact here are some rather disconcerting facts: According to iHealth Beat, the study found about:

  • One-third of the sites named the correct diagnosis as the patient’s first option;
  • 51 percent of the sites named the correct diagnosis in their top three options; and
  • 58 percent of the sites named the correct diagnosis in their top 20 option

For those using the internet to try and figure out what might be wrong with them — which is most of the United States population at one time or another — this is a major problem. Doctor Google is not the answer!

Kaiser Health News has done this study to show the important an accurate diagnosis is. Such errant or wrong diagnosis can cause undue fear, people going to their doctors with the wrong information and further burden the healthcare system. What is stunning is that the study included Cleveland Clinic, Mayo, and other highly renowned organization’s web sites.

Now, let’s look in the mirror. SEMEOTICON and the EU medical authorities are working together to create a sensor-based mirror that can tell you your blood pressure, potential for diabetes, cardiac readings and more.

Why is this hot? Development of wearable’s, trackables, logging exercise is accelerating faster and faster. Yet, we also know from many studies that doctor’s typically ignore the tracking information; and that on average, over 70% of such Apps are abandoned after 3 months. Perhaps even more troublesome is the inaccuracy in time, money and emotion wasted. An inaccurate diagnosis can set off a series of horribly fearful events.  But flip what this mirror from diagnosis to support and see it as a means to help control a patient’s health and suddenly what is potentially fearful device becomes an easy way to stay healthier.

Is this a product you would purchase? Certainly, if I were a major Biopharma company with a diabetes or cardiac franchise, I would partner/buy this technology and offer it to patients and hospitals as a way to support the patient and healthier outcomes but also co-partner with the entire healthcare system.

 

The Curated Experience: Like Disney, Like Pharma

Some of the top line lessons for marketers from Disney are centered on the way people are treated and how the experience is curated. There is an important place for curated experiences in pharmaceutical marketing and we can learn a few lessons from Disney.

Attention to detail

On every ride there are access corridors, stairs, and pathways for the crews to clean and maintain them. These utilitarian areas are still branded with the ride’s theme right down to the railings and door designs. They probably change to unadorned stairwells and metal doors inside the attraction and away from guests’ eyes and experience but as far as the customer experience is concerned the ride’s theme carries on forever.

Relevance

For a company with many brands and a consolidated call center make sure that therehumira-website-300x300 are scripts and protocols available for each patient and brand. For brands with multiple indications look closely at how patients are treated at the front door. The best experience is one where each condition has its own site. Next best is one where the user’s choice is remembered so that they see the most relevant information on subsequent visits. Remember, even if you have an 85% “first visit” rate, those 15% of return visitors are probably mostly made up of your patients.

You’re never rushed

Disney has technology to optimize the guest’s experience, but lines can still be long. When my daughter waited in line to see her favourite characters there was a line a mile long behind us. When talking with the characters she wasn’t rushed or snubbed, the experience was fulfilling and worth the wait.

Relevance

Your patients have often been through a long journey to get to their script, take the time to really curate an experience for them and make them feel valued. This can be an extra couple of minutes on a phone call, a call center script that offers more options, a more complete digital experience, or even a retargeting campaign centered on services for patients rather than just selling the brand.

Technology set to “help”

The FastPass system at Disney is absolutely genius. For those who haven’t visited recently, the FastPass system is available to all park visitors and essentially ensures that every guest will have a great experience on at least three rides. They limit the number of FastPass guests for rides in one-hour periods so that they can manage the lines. This provides a better experience for guests who aren’t standing in line all day and frees up their time to buy food and Disney merchandise.

Relevance

What could your patients do with extra time? There are often ways to curate their experience to assist with the journey. Can specialists be found nearby? When filling a script are there nearby pharmacies or even specialty mail-order pharmacies available?

For your writing physicians, are there ways you can make their lives easier? Most rare disease claims require prior authorization forms, are there ways that your information can be organized to help them? Even better, is your payer marketing program set up to make their lives as easy as possible?

Why It’s Hot: The Disney experience is something that is not replicated in other theme parks but which pays dividends in terms of revenue per guest and repeat visits. Look to your own customer experiences and ask the question: what would Disney do?

Source: Klick Health

Doctors code bills for payment. On October 1st, 2015, this will blow-up. Welcome to ICD-10!

ICD-10 COFUSION 5.29Ever look closely at the form the doctor or nurse gives you as you leave? There are codes that describe your specific medical reason for the visit; and thus, the specific amount of money they will be paid.

This is about to be turned on it’s head and everyone is scrambling. ICD-10 is about to cause potential chaos in our healthcare system.

Once again, government regulation is kicking into place another level of complexity for the entire healthcare system. It’s pretty straight-forward: as of October 1st, 2015, ALL doctors need to use a new coding system called ICD-10. Sounds simple enough until you realize the complexity of switching from ICD-9 to ICD-10 and how the market is reacting; it reveals both the inate fear and reminds us that as consumers we need to pay attention.

ICD-9 vs ICD-10 chart 5.29

ICD-9: 13,000 codes. ICD-10: 68,000 codes. Imagine the fear if they get it wrong. One of the leaders in electronic Health Records, Athena Health, is using this countdown (fear) with an aggressive offer (guarantee) to drive new business. Here is their guarantee:

“We take on the burden of the ICD-10 transition for our practices with a combination of continuously updated cloud-based software, including a team of experts handling payer and interface outreach and testing.  And, because we align our overall financial goals with yours, we put ourselves at risk for your resultsSee full details.”

They use a compelling video, too: http://www.athenahealth.com/guarantee/icd-10

ICD-10 Athena Hot Sauce

Why is this hot? Complexity that requires simplicity is a challenge we all face as communicators and strategists. This is a great trend to watch to see how true disruption is managed. The software mentioned in an earlier post — Sensentia — is a great example of innovation meant to remove the complexity and humanize it. Hot Sauce Sensentia page 1

 

Seismic Shift in Pharma Makes Brand Marketers Ask, Should I Be Down with NPP?

There is a “seismic shift” to NNP (non-personal promotion), or non-rep delivered product promotion, taking place in the pharmaceutical industry. Specialties such as psychiatry, pediatrics, and gastroenterology have been significantly impacted. The result is marketing budgets are being reapportioned to social, mobile/apps, and digital marketing.

MM&M reports: Pharma is not in the business of fixing things that ain’t broke. It takes a seismic shift to force the industry to rethink its historical organizational structures and to replot its tried-and-tested road maps for commercial success. And that’s exactly what this represents.

HCPs are now blocking sales-rep access in swathes—some voluntarily, others under orders from above. According to ZS Associates’ AccessMonitor survey, only 51% of all prescribers are now accessible to reps, down from 78% in 2009. For some specialties, such as psychiatry (41%), pediatrics (45%) and gastroenterology (47%), the numbers are even worse.

An emerging key contributor to this trend is the fact that unprecedented numbers of prescribers are now employed by medical groups, many of which implement no-see policies on behalf of their employees. “It used to be that most physicians were independent businesspeople who always fought for what was best for the patient,” says Rich Daly, managing partner, RavineRock Partners, and former president, US diabetes, AstraZeneca. “But the power of the employer, the payer, the PBMs—they have changed the dynamic and others are now calling the shots.”

Whereas NPP’s role was once to complement field sales efforts—and perhaps pinch-hit for reps in the twilight innings of certain brands—it has since taken on a far greater significance as a tool kit for filling sales force gaps. But now that those gaps have become gaping holes, might we be approaching a watershed moment where an NPP strategy might actually supersede the sales force?

With respect to balancing the mix of calls and NPP, Daly, who has also held senior executive roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Takeda, believes pharma companies could be making better use of the data they collect. “We’ve had big data in pharmaceuticals for decades. We’re drowning in it,” he says. “But what about the big insights? If you have great analytics and derivative insight then you know whether a drug is likely to be concentrated at launch or if the uptake will likely be slow, and plan accordingly. Nobody ever gets fired in pharma for doing what everybody else has always done.”

That said, there is evidence that marketing budgets are being reapportioned. The annual MM&M/Ogilvy CommonHealth Healthcare Marketers Trend Report (MM&M, June 2014) showed signs of a shift in HCP spending toward NPP tactics last year: 63% of marketers reported increased budgets for mobile/tablet apps; 63% reported increased budgets for social media; 51% for digital ads; 48% for websites; and 33% for direct marketing.

“It’s hard to say if it’s a left-pocket-to-right-pocket move,” says Woodland. “But yes, marketing is freeing up dollars from the sales force and redeploying it on NPP.”

“There are more than enough viable addressable opportunities in every channel today,” says Woodland. “If you put in the effort to understand the audience, you get a much more coherent NPP strategy that won’t be a one-dimensional type of program.”

It’s all about choosing the most appropriate mix for the product, audience and market. “I have two children. I love them equally and I treat them equally,” says Daly. “But I don’t treat my products equally. I discriminate brutally. If it makes sense to approach product A with 75% NPP, then go for it. The biggest mistake anybody can make is to treat each product the same.”

Read more here: MM&M: Nothing (Im)personal 

Source: http://www.mmm-online.com/nothing-impersonal/article/394344/

Why It’s Hot: Social, Digital, Mobile/Apps are coming to the forefront in Pharma. It will mostly likely force the FDA to tighten up fuzzy interactive media guidelines in turn providing pharmaceutical companies fruitful opportunities particularly in the social space to engage direct to consumer as well as HCP.