Patients skeptical of new prescription drugs

  • Patients are skeptical of new prescription drugs.
  • In addition to going to a pharma site they do a LOT of online research.
  • Pharma sites are not meeting their needs when it comes the information they need to try or switch to new medications.
  • People are using social media to learn about new medications, but the trust of others posts remains low.

After bowls full of M&M’s yesterday we listened to focus groups talk about DTC TV ads for new products.  The panels were people of all ages who have used the Internet for online health information in the last 30-45 days.   While the sample size was small, the findings are consistent with what he had heard in the past.  Here are some topline findings:

1ne: Patients are very skeptical of “me too” drugs because trust in pharma is at an all time low.

2wo: It takes more than a key competitive advantage to get patients to switch to a new medication.  They see the process (making an appointment with their HCP, going to the doctor, going to the pharmacy, learning if my insurance covers) as too costly.

3hree: Patients were very open to receive suggestions from their insurers for new medications if the cost was low and if it could be done via online with their doctor.  They also were very open to receive suggestions for new medications from their pharmacy.

4our: When doing online research for new prescription drugs people will go to pharma websites, but they average 3-5 other health sites as well as pharma sites don’t meet their needs.

5ive: Social media is playing a bigger part in online research, but online health seekers don’t take what’s posted as “fact” and often do more research.

6ix: DTC TV ads were listed as the number one way people learn about new drugs, but ranked last in actually driving people to ask for an Rx.

So what’s going on here?  People are getting overwhelmed with the choices for new prescription drugs.  We would like to think that they could talk to their doctors about them, but that’s not happening because of the barriers needed to change to a new Rx.  The two issues that concern patients the most about new products are:

1: Products cost

2: Product side effects

Clearly pharma companies, insurers and pharmacies are missing an integrated approach to help patients switch to a new medication.  Unless they, and their prescribing physician, see a clear overall benefit it’s not going to happen.

Conceptual image – success of teamwork. Objects isolated over white

Focus groups were held in Kansas City n=41.  We are going to follow up this research with some quantitative.