POST SUMMARY: To say that 2014 has been a challenging year for pharma would be an understatement. Budget cuts are kicking in and 86% of Rx’s are now generic medications while sales and marketing budgets have hit a dead end. More than that a lot of very talented and good DTC marketing people have left the industry because job satisfaction is a lot more important than a paycheck.
POST SUMMARY: A guest post, last week, on the digital pharma conference led to a lot of comments with very strong opinions on both sides. The author sent me the post on condition that he would remain anonymous because his company does not allow employees to write articles without first going through a maze of approvals. However, he does raise some very good points.
GUEST POST - I’m a Senior Director for a top pharmaceutical company here on the East Coast and manage 6 digital marketing people, but I am not going to attend the Digital Pharma East. I would like to share the reasons and give you some pause as to whether you should go or use the time, and money, more wisely.
POST SUMMARY: There is nothing like a bunch of ad executives getting together at a French resort to pat each other on the back for advertising, even id the ads were ineffective in driving brand objectives. According to the “jury” the pharma category, although there was good work, and much of it included digital components, the jurors found that there was “a lot of utility but not so much beauty.” P L E A S E !!!
POST SUMMARY: IBS affects between 25 and 45 million people in the United States (10 to 15% of the population). About 2 in 3 IBS sufferers are female. About 1 in 3 IBS sufferers are male. IBS affects people of all ages, even children. Although IBS is common in the general population, few seek medical care for their symptoms, so I have to wonder why Ironwood and Forest are taking such a bad approach to the DTC marketing for Linzess.
POST SUMMARY: Consumers today don’t want to be “sold”, they want credible, transparent health information to help them make healthcare decisions. However, the online environment of health information is often confusing and hard to understand, which in turn means that consumers have to spend more time online trying to get their health questions answered. There is a major opportunity for biopharma DTC marketers to make the leap from a website that “sells” to a website that provides answers.
POST SUMMARY: What is a “fair price” for a medication and who should decide the cost to our healthcare system? Drug prices are once again coming under scrutiny even though they only account for 10-12% of every healthcare dollar spent. The question comes down to this “are healthcare companies public companies functioning within a capitalist environment or are price controls going to be instituted thus limiting costs and revenues?”
POST SUMMARY: The $9 billion judgement against Lilly & Takeda on possible links with cancer and Actos stunned both legal teams. I don’t believe this judgement will stand but underneath all the testimony is a key lesson for the pharma industry: transparency around clinical trial data is essential and consumers are angry at any “big business” and will gladly take out their anger via huge awards.