Today, 42% of doctors practice as salaried employees of hospital systems, up from 24% in 2004, according to Cegedim Relationship Management, a marketing consultant. As a result, the pharmaceutical industry is shifting its sales efforts from doctors to the institutions they work for. In 2005, drug companies employed about 102,000 U.S. sales representatives, who mostly pitch to doctors. By mid-2014, according to ZS Associates, a consulting firm, their numbers were down to about 63,000.
Doctors are losing influence. Hospital systems are growing more powerful as they bulk up by buying doctors’ practices, nursing homes, urgent-care centers and other hospitals. Insurers and the federal health-care overhaul are squeezing hospital and doctor payments and shifting reimbursement from how much care is given to how effective it is.
After doubling over nearly two decades, rates of diabetes in the U.S. may be leveling off, a new study by federal researchers shows, a tentative sign of progress against a debilitating, costly condition. About 29.1 million people, or 9.3% of the U.S. population, suffer from diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It has become a major driver of health-care expenditures in the U.S., accounting for an estimated $245 billion in direct and indirect medical costs in 2012, the most recent year available.
The number of cancer survivors in the U.S. will grow to almost 19 million in 2024, according to a new report from the American Cancer Society. The report says there are currently 14.5 million cancer survivors living in the country. The findings are published in the American Cancer Society’s “Cancer Treatment & Survivorship Facts & Figures, 2014-2015” report, along with a companion article in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
Who is driving Transformative Change in pharma?
If there is one award I would like to see for pharma marketers, it’s an award for driving transformative change. Transformation isn’t easy. It requires changing not only people’s minds but also their hearts. According to Malcolm Gladwell people who drive transformation share three traits:
Courage to explore the unexplored. Courage to defy the naysayers. Courage to persist when the whole world seems to be against you.
People who possess courage are:
- Massively open and incredibly creative, willing to consider all kinds of innovative solutions.
- Conscientious, willing to follow through on their ideas.
- Disagreeable and independent, willing to disagree with what the world perceives as a “norm.”
Transformation requires reimagining every step of the current process. And that includes hiring, because people who are holding on to the legacy solutions are not those who will help you bring the transformation forth. You need people with a fresh outlook and a new mentality. You also have to reframe the problem.
Innovators not only have courage to withstand the naysayers and the vision to reframe the problem but also possess a wicked sense of urgency, of getting stuff done, now. A lot of companies produced the innovations they didn’t actually invent (they copied them), but because they acted upon the idea—no matter how imperfect—they were credited with those inventions first. And reaped the benefits.
In other words, don’t hire people who will fit in and attend back to back meetings. Hire people who are going to transform your marketing and get patients to take notice. If we continue down the same path of Power Points, meetings and fitting in pharma marketing is doomed.