Adrian Howells, from the UK MSS practice, writes about how by putting the patient at the heart of thinking, it leads to a more effective strategy for the pharmaceutical sector Up until recently the Pharmaceutical industry has been driven by one customer: the prescriber, not the patient. However, this model is being eroded as patients are gaining control, payers are putting more restrictions on drug usage and new influencers are coming into the market. So, between the payer, prescriber and patient, who should Pharmaceutical companies try to please?
Some companies have tried to please the payer. They have done this in a number of ways including:
- Bundling products together to deliver an overall product portfolio
- Negotiating payment on efficacy (outcomes) rather than a list price.
- By developing services around their base product such as home delivery, nurse training, diabetes monitoring services and depression management services.
- By moving to e-detailing and on-line services so that the prescriber can draw information down when they require it rather than the salesperson imposing it on them.
- Wellness – How can the patient keep healthy? This seems to be counter intuitive to a health market which in the Western world has focused on making people better not keeping them well. Should Pharma companies invest in health clubs, sports drinks, alternative medicines or work with food companies to provide health management solutions? This would clearly keep the patients, prescribers and the payers happy. It is more difficult to see in the short term how this transition would keep the Pharmaceutical companies happy but it must be considered.
- Brand loyalty – For many patients brand is a critical aspect in setting an expectation of how their treatment will go. For Pharma companies there has been a reticence to use brand unless it is for drugs which could be considered for social use. With the broadening of product portfolios the benefits of pleasing the customer will now start to outweigh the risk of brand impact if a single product fails.