A combination of factors has changed how pharmaceutical companies market to physicians. From regulations in the Affordable Care Act to scrutiny by public interest groups, there is greater transparency than ever about how drugs are marketed to professionals.
Consumers now have access to information about which pharma (or device) company has compensated which physician and in what form. What had been “business as usual” for decades is no longer acceptable. Sales representatives are now unable to persuade doctors to recommend their drugs in an exchange for expensive lunches and luxurious vacations. In this era of “sunshine,” pharma companies have had to find new ways of accessing and activating their physician audience.
In the medical device sector, we are already witnessing changes. Pharma sales reps need to use a more value- and outcome-based approach (with all the data, tools and support to back it up) to encourage doctors to endorse their drugs. They need to find new ways to add value and distinguish drugs, brands and companies – through professional and patient support programs, education, digital tools and other methods to fill needs within this new regulatory context.
Change creates opportunity, and this part of the healthcare arena presents an interesting one. It’s clear that the physician’s world is going through massive transformation. The companies that best understand the new challenges physicians are facing will be best prepared to help address them. Reps can become trusted partners by offering tangible help in navigating the landscape today.
Biotechnology: Pharma’s Best Friend?
It’s a rare day that doesn’t bring news of mergers and acquisitions in the pharma and biotech space. A quick scan of the news offers these headlines: “Actavis to Buy Allergan,” “Johnson & Johnson Completes Alios BioPharma Purchase” and so on.
Companies within the biotechnology industry are currently in need of capital and assistance with distribution, sales and marketing as they seek to grow larger. They find a hungry audience in the pharma companies looking to grow their pipelines. As a result, mergers and acquisitions between biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies are on the rise.
Cultural differences will need to be reconciled between biotechnology companies with “start up” vibes and the large, formal culture of pharmaceutical companies. In addition, as biotechnology companies shift to the well-oiled distribution and sales models of pharma, they will grapple with similar challenges. Most notably, the shift to a more customer-centric communications strategy and value-based selling approach.
This is an excerpt from the “Healthcare: When All The Parts Are Moving Parts” white paper. To learn more, visit gyrohuman.com.
Wendy Lurrie – Managing Director, gyro:human
Wendy Lurrie is the managing director of gyro’s healthcare practice gyro:human based in New York. gyro:human is gyro’s newly formed U.S. division dedicated to all aspects of the healthcare industry. Lurrie is a healthcare industry ace who has worked with United Healthcare, Aetna, Eli Lilly and Company, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, to name a few.
She held executive positions at major agencies Draft, DraftFCB and Grey, where her responsibilities included the management and growth of the healthcare portfolios. Lurrie has worked on the client side as a VP of marketing at Travelers as well as served a consultant specializing in marketing strategy.