Do you have the courage to be the voice of the patient?

KEY TAKEAWAY: It’s time to change the perception of “big pharma” and show the public that the drugs we develop can save lives without forcing patients to declare bankruptcy.  You have to be the voice of the patient and caregivers in meetings and remind everyone that all though we’re a business our business allows people to live longer, productive lives.

I have been critical of “big pharma” because there are too many greedy CEO’s who don’t give a damn about the people we serve, but I also work with people who understand that the challenges of becoming patient centric are sometimes overwhelming.  I don’t get discouraged because in research I have had the opportunity to hear how they are living a better quality of life because of the drugs we market.

Here are some things you should concentrate on in 2018 when it comes to DTC:

1ne: Your website needs an overhaul.  Please stop with the generic pharma website template.  Write content that speaks to patients as a person and help them navigate the complex world of online health information.  Look at the top pages within your site and get rid of content that is not being read.

2wo: mHealth is coming .  It’s going to get bigger, but the market is going to go through a shakeout as pretenders fade away.  There are two huge challenges to mHealth. First, getting patients to use them as they are supposed to be used and getting HCP’s to believe that the data is accurate and that mHealth can aid in patient outcomes.

3hree: Patients want to be seen as individuals with individual needs .  This means more of an emphasis on personalization on and off line. eMail, for example, is still one of the best ways to market online yet pharma seems to have abandoned this tactic.

4our: TV may be a good choice for mass market products, but you really need to evaluate its effectiveness when it comes to ROI. Challenge your agency to do a better job targeting your audience and use metrics that matter.

5ive: Programmatic online advertising is garbage. It wastes anywhere from 40-60% of your online ad dollars.  Instead challenge your agency to develop online creative that really speaks to your audience.

6ix: Forget social media. Social media is as dead as the Cleveland Browns playoff chances. This will be the year the year that people start to turn away from social media because of privacy issues and issues around their ability to control fake news.  Facebook is quickly becoming a despised brand.

In other words, we need to get back to basics.  Too many websites that are doing usability studies, too many that remain unchanged for months at a time and too many CEO’s kissing Wall Street’s ass at the expense of patients. Do YOU have the courage to be the voice of the patient?

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