KEY TAKEAWAY: The coming year is going to present a lot of challenges to pharma companies and DTC marketing. If we all focus on patients and put them at the center of what we do the rest will be easy, but we all have to be the change we want to see.
First of all I want to thank all my readers. Between social media, and other sharing properties I am averaging over 70,000 readers a month. That is an honor which I hold in very high regard.
What has really surprised me this year, in working with DTC and HCP marketers, is that there seems to be a renewed interest in ways to reach patients via the Internet. However, they are also asking for better hard metrics which frankly is getting harder to do in an era of BOTS and online ad fraud. My group, in total, managed over $450 million in on/off line media for clients. It was a lot of work, but it provided some great insights and successes that we were proud to promote.
This morning I read that Biogen’s new drug for spinal disorder will cost $750,000 for a course of treatment. Biogen is putting all of the pharma right into the center of the bullseye in the debate around the cost of pharma drugs and, in my opinion, is eventually going to lead to a single payer system. Laugh if you want to, but it’s coming.
I have sat in front of patients with MS, diabetes and depression and heard stories about how they are struggling to manage their health while having a life, but more importantly, how scared they are of possibly not being able to work. It’s hard not to empathetic for these people and frankly, it has helped the people I work with ask “how can we help these people?”.
DTC marketing needs to go through a transition to become more relevant. Every product, and disease state, is different and is a micro market with its own characteristics. This means we all need to get back to basics like more research, especially when developing online initiatives. It also means that product websites need to be more user friendly and less like a medical textbook.
I look forward to 2017 and the challenges it presents to all of us because I love this business. There is nothing better than finding that “ah ha” moment and implementing a program with real results.