Pharmaceuticals constitute one of the leading in industries in the United States. Yet, the public is often unaware of how their marketing works.
As a heavily regulated industry, they have to follow various policies and laws. Marketing of drugs require full disclosure, as you’d expect, for informed decisions.
But who do they market it to, and how are the trends changing under the current healthcare scenario? Let’s learn a few basics of pharmaceutical marketing.
1. Marketing to doctors
The primary focus is on doctors who prescribe a medicine to patients. Other than full disclosure, an understanding of the needs of the clinic or healthcare facility is necessary.
Interacting with doctors and physicians must follow certain ethical codes. For instance, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) dictates code of interactions with healthcare professionals to be voluntarily followed by pharmaceuticals.
Patient’s benefit must remain the focus, helping physicians enhance their practice with better medicines.
2. Dissemination of information
Achieving higher sales is the primary goal of any marketing strategy. However, in pharmaceutical industries, it is imperative to provide complete information about the product.
Physicians must be made aware of the product’s benefits and risks. This will help advance patient use in appropriate setting.
So, pharmaceutical marketing places more emphasis on informed marketing than simple advertising.
3. Traditional marketing strategies
Physicians are often too busy to allow pharmaceutical sales representatives in their clinics every day. The opportunities are fewer; only the best sales rep will be able to get across.
Free drug samples are one of the most common strategies to attract physicians. However, they will only be prescribed if physicians are fully informed about their efficacy and possible side effects.
The trends are changing now but until a few years ago, gifts such as meals and travel expenses were a common way to attract physicians. This is looked down upon in the healthcare industry, as personal benefits may affect their prescribing behavior.
The revised PhRMA Code prohibits some of these practices, ensuring ethical conduct in medico-marketing.
4. Digital marketing
Like other industries, pharmaceutical industry is also moving towards digital marketing.
Online personal communities for physicians and allied health professionals now act as niche markets for pharmaceutical businesses.
More and more companies are engaging physicians on social media. The industry is moving towards hiring ‘medical communication specialists’ to interact with physicians, providing links with clinical trials, journals and other reliable sources of information.
Of course, these strategies are yet to be adopted by the industry at large, but digital dissemination is increasingly playing an important role. If you want to learn more about the current North Dakota pharmacy scenario, follow our pharmacy news blog.