Healthcare Reform Impact on Pharmaceutical Marketing
Every aspect of pharmaceutical marketing will be impacted by healthcare reform. While the marketing of prescription drugs has become increasingly difficult as we have discussed before pharmaceutical companies should be anticipating even more challenges as healthcare reform evolves. These challenges will be driven primarily by the need to control costs, a market interest in minimizing the influence of pharmaceutical marketing and sales, and a diminished trust of the pharmaceutical industry.
Over the next few posts we will evaluate the impact of the changing market on marketing from the customer perspective. The intent is not to be all inclusive but to get you thinking about how it might affect your tactical programs. Customers go through an adoption sequence which most marketers are familiar with (awareness, interest, evaluation, trial, use, and endorsement).
Awareness (customer becomes aware of the product and familiar with the brand name)
Previous tactics included:
Press releases, journal advertising, sales rep calls, exhibits and scientific presentations at medical meetings and conferences, direct mail, physician to physician word of mouth, and office tchotchkes (reminder items to maintain awareness and visibility of the brand name)
New tactics include:
Internet distribution of press releases, Internet marketing, DTC (direct to consumer) advertising, sports sponsorships (i.e., NASCAR), social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and word of mouth
The evolving market and healthcare reform challenges for raising awareness (electronic communications including the internet makes this one of the least impacted marketing issue)
- Elimination of office tchotchkes (already in place) makes keeping brand name “top of mind” at the point of prescribing more difficult
- Decreasing sales rep access to physicians
- Increasing regulatory constraints on internet and social media
- Limited access to managed market decision makers (PBMs, insurers, government)
- Increasing concerns for pharmaceutical company participation in scientific meetings and conferences
Solutions to challenges:
Perhaps the best solution to this issue is to have a truly innovative product. News media will jump on these products, especially if they are independently endorsed. Managed market decision makers who identify innovative products they want their plan participants to have access to will find ways (including working with pharmaceutical company marketing) to make sure prescribers in their plans are aware of the product. Similarly, medically recognized innovative treatments of choice will find much less resistance to being presented and discussed at scientific meetings and conferences.
Again, raising awareness is probably the least affected by the evolving new healthcare market and healthcare reform. Next we will discuss the impact of stimulating interest in a particular product which is certain to be impacted to a much greater extent.