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Is pharma marketing an oxymoron ?

Well it seems that a lot of people are “dog piling” on the pharma industry. I’m really surprised that pharma has not been accused of causing global warming but let’s face it big pharma has paid a lot of money in fines for “illegal marketing” over the last few years.  Pharma can win over skeptics but in order to do so they have to acknowledge something called transparency.

How anyone in marketing could believe that they could get away with misinformation in the information age is just amazing to me.  Consumers may see ads for new products but research clearly shows that more and more they believe the reviews of “people like them” more than advertisers.

For pharma marketers everything starts and ends with the product label.  In short if it’s not on the label you can’t say it but over the last few years a lot of people in pharma marketing have a sales background and they are more interested in making numbers rather than complying with good drug marketing principles.

I’m a strong believer that people who violate the trust of their customers should not be allowed to work in pharma marketing again if it can be proven that they willfully ignored DDMAC and FDA guidelines.  The FDA is not going to get the message across when it comes to illegal marketing until fines equal the sales of a product from illegal marketing. However I also believe that there are a lot of hard working good people within the industry whose voices are not loud enough.  The old way of doing things, where politics and sales are more important than putting patients first, has to change.  Time is running out.

We also need to think about the millions of people who are able to normal lives and live with horrible diseases because of the prescription drugs they take.  Having HIV is no longer a death sentence and high cholesterol can be treated now with statins and diet.

There has to be a balance between what pharma does right and what they don’t do right.  When they screw up they need to be called out on it but we are living longer with cancer and other diseases because of prescription drugs.  Marketing can coexist within pharma but it has to acknowledge that everyone, from doctors to patients, has ways to find stuff out via the Internet.


One thought on “Is pharma marketing an oxymoron ?

  1. I think much of this has to do with one’s motivations. If you view your job as simply making a number without thinking about the people affected by your actions, you will likely stray into dangerous ground. But if you think about the people you ultimately serve – the patients and providers depending on you for information – things become simpler. Pharma marketers can do great work within their labels, but it requires creativity and effort rather than a shortcut. But it is possible, and is very rewarding. And I know many who do it every day, and who take pride in their ability to “do well by doing good”. It’s a great way to live, and many are quietly doing it in pharma companies every day.

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