Time to treat patients like customers?

UnknownKEY TAKEAWAY: Pharma companies can no longer use the excuse of “regulated industry” to keep their distance from patients.  They should treat patients like valued customers and do everything they can to help them manage with chronic health problems that interfere with the quality of life as defined by them.

If you’re taking a branded prescription medication you most likely will turn to your pharmacist or doctor if you have a question rather than the company who markets the product.  While that may be ok for medical questions who do patients turn to when they have other questions such as what to eat or not to eat while on certain medications?

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Pharma websites are designed to drive new Rx’s and really don’t offer much support or current information for current prescribers.  That, in my opinion, is a huge mistake.  I could quote statistics on non-compliance and adherence, but you know the data.  While there are some websites that offer online forums, such as “patients like me”, customers expect and need support from the brands in their life.  With so many brands to choose from marketers, including DTC marketers, can no longer afford to end the relationship once a prospect becomes a customer.

There is no set of guidelines to successfully do this, it varies by health condition.  MS patients, for example, are very active on social media sharing tips for managing their MS.  Caretakers of patients also seek out guidance from other caretakers while pharma has pretty much stayed quiet.

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I suggest to clients that they get out there and do research with current patients and ask them “what can we do better to help you manage your health?”.  Too much research is done with the objective of getting people on the band, but very little is done to ask “what can w do to further help you?”.  That has to change.