POST SUMMARY: Since 2009, the pharmaceutical industry, has announced more than 156,000 job cuts in the U.S. alone, according to Challenger Gray & Christmas. In Western countries, pharmaceutical jobs are high-paying; the average salary of a U.S. pharmaceutical scientist in 2013 was $141,500, according to an American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists survey. Sales positions have been particularly hard hit, due to patents expiring on top-selling drugs, and physician restrictions on seeing sales reps. ZS Associates, a sales and marketing consultant, estimates the industry’s U.S. sales force has fallen by 40% from its peak of more than 100,000 in 2006. So what can be done to attract and retain talented people?
POST SUMMARY: Cancer Research UK analysis showed that in 1971-2, 50% of people diagnosed with cancer died within a year. Now 50% survive for at least a decade – up from 24% in 1971-2. But the findings, based on the outcomes for more than 7 million patients, also showed that for some cancers, survival rates were still very low. For example, just 1% of pancreatic cancer patients and 5% of lung cancer patients can expect to survive for 10 years. Nonetheless, the overall figures showed there had been significant progress in the way cancer was treated. As we talk about mergers and acquisitions within the pharma industry we also need to ask how will these acquisitions effect the development of new drugs?
POST SUMMARY: IBS affects between 25 and 45 million people in the United States (10 to 15% of the population). About 2 in 3 IBS sufferers are female. About 1 in 3 IBS sufferers are male. IBS affects people of all ages, even children. Although IBS is common in the general population, few seek medical care for their symptoms, so I have to wonder why Ironwood and Forest are taking such a bad approach to the DTC marketing for Linzess.
POST SUMMARY: To infer that free samples of prescription drugs are costly to patients is flawed because the study upon which these headlines were all over the Web came from the journal JAMA Dermatology. In fact prescription drug samples can help patients get the medication they need at no cost and it’s up to the patient’s insurer whether or not the physician can actually write a prescription for the product.
POST SUMMARY: Consumers today don’t want to be “sold”, they want credible, transparent health information to help them make healthcare decisions. However, the online environment of health information is often confusing and hard to understand, which in turn means that consumers have to spend more time online trying to get their health questions answered. There is a major opportunity for biopharma DTC marketers to make the leap from a website that “sells” to a website that provides answers.
POST SUMMARY: With most pharma companies trying to balance budgets with the challenges of a new healthcare environment DTC marketers are being challenged to meet targeted KPI’s with less dollars. This is putting more pressure on agencies to deliver metrics that matter, but we are also moving into an era of getting closer to patients/consumers/caregivers in order to help them make better healthcare decisions.
POST SUMMARY: The era of pharma layoffs has led to a bad side effect:terrible managers. Terrible managers worry more about kissing up, being noticed, and getting ahead, than doing the right work at the right time, with the right people. Being politically savvy is certainly an important skill, but spending all your time and energy maneuvering to step over others and reach the next level makes you a lousy manager because what we do has a potential impact on hundreds, thousands of patients.