Beyond The Spiel
Pharma companies are now offering more than just the medicine, which means marketers have to go that extra mile too.
Increasingly, the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down is more sophisticated patient services, as pharma goes far beyond the pill to ensure uptake of their products.
Such services are also changing the ways drugs are marketed, as marketers focus on value-added services in a bid to differentiate their product in an often-saturated market.
“If you look at any biologic in the market you will find extensive patient services,” says Bozidar Jovicevic, VP Global Head of Digital Medicines at Sanofi. “Patient services have become like a ticket to enter the market for biologics.”
Such services typically include specialist nursing, patient hotlines, educational material, videos and apps, to name but a few.
“The majority of really innovative drugs these days are biologics, and they are expensive to develop, costing millions to bring them to market,” says Geert Reyniers, Vice President Digital Health Integrations at Novo Nordisk. “They don’t work in a one-size-fits-all way anymore and are often difficult to use correctly.”
Services add value, says Pieter de Muynck, Global Marketing Director at Actelion. “Because there is so little differentiation between the anti-TNFs, for example, physicians choose one over another not because of data or efficacy but because of the extra bells and whistles around it, the services provided, the information provided. You build a stronger value proposition than in the old days, when it was just about coming up with messages and trying to convince physicians on efficacy and safety.”
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