KEY IDEA: Despite the calls to end DTC marketing and the media demonization of the pharma industry DTC marketers should be proud that DTC ads are educating and informing consumerized patients to learn more about potential health problems and treatment options.
I’m getting to the point where I can’t go to certain news websites anymore because they have journalists writing stories without an understanding of healthcare. Do they really think, for example, that someone is actually going to run to the doctor to ask for an advertised product without doing due diligence? They see consumers as getting brainwashed by pharma ads and taking drugs that may be no better than placebo’s.
One of the reasons that online health seekers have grown so much in recent years is that our system of healthcare forces them to go online to learn about health problems and treatment recommendations. Sure, there is some really bad DTC marketing out there, but there are also some DTC marketers who are trying new ways to engage patients even though an antiquated FDA is a decade behind.
I am reminded of the Novartis campaign around Heart Failure. When a distant relative was diagnosed with heart failure many years ago, he thought it was an automatic death sentence. My wife, who is an HCP, educated him and his stress level was lowered as he learned to live with heart failure and manage its symptoms. In this regard, his doctor was not helpful and I often wonder how many other people need help managing their health, help they can’t get from their doctor because doctors are overworked.
We have an obligation to put ourselves in our patient’s place and do what we can so they can better make healthcare treatment choices. Empathy is perhaps one of the best qualities of a great DTC marketer . We have to convince senior executives that although the pharma model is changing, helping patients is still a road to business success .
Be proud of what you do if you are able to put patients first and keep fighting for their interests. I guarantee career success will follow.