THE REAL TEST FOR PHARMA will come in next few years, as many promising sales model innovations are being rolled out on a large scale. Will these changes
take hold and be ultimately perceived as successful? Will the sales culture evolve to match the new business model? Will the
public image of pharmaceutical companies improve as a result of these innovations?
One of the most important things for a pharmaceutical company to do is to critically evaluate its portfolio and pipeline to
ensure that they are always consistent with their present cost structure. Doing this periodically helps companies be more
proactive about identifying a need for either rapid business development or rationalizing of expenses.
The biggest untapped opportunity is the link between patient compliance, outcomes, and the total cost of care. When patients
are truly compliant with their respective therapies—filling their prescriptions regularly and taking their medications as
prescribed—their total cost for prescription drugs may rise, but the total cost of care declines due to factors including
fewer complications, fewer emergency room visits, fewer hospital stays, and fewer doctor visits.
The benefit of improved patient compliance for many products can be an uplift in sales of 30 percent, or more—an enormous
opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry, payers, and patients.
Many companies continue to suffer from a lack of true sales and marketing integration. Companies persist in the belief that
silos are necessary to comply with regulations and to ensure functional excellence. Collaboration between silos not only enhances
customer focus and productivity, but it also improves downstream implementation at pharma companies.
DIFFERENT COVERAGE MODELS
The emergence of drop-in or "minute" medical clinics in the retail sector (Wal-Mart and CVS have launched on-site medical
clinics at their stores) has prompted some analysts to predict explosive growth in this channel. Anticipating the challenges
of marketing to physicians and nurses in these venues; and experimenting with different coverage models today will be the
key to long-term success in appropriately valuing, influencing, and tracking a new segment of customers.
Pharma companies may feel increasing pressure to make strong pharmacoeconomic arguments for their drugs. Authorities in some
European countries already have been pushing companies to demonstrate how their products provide better value for money when
compared with other possible interventions. European pharma companies that cannot make this economic case risk the government
denying, or severely restricting reimbursement for their drugs. The current tone of congressional debates in the US about
the cost of prescription drugs could mean that the industy here may soon face a similar situation. Pharma should be prepared,
and even take valuable lessons from their colleagues in Europe.
Since 1983, ZS Associates has been a global management consulting firm equipped with a range of pharmaceutical and biotech
experience. It specializes in sales and marketing consulting, capability building and outsourcing. It has helped multinational,
midsize, and entrepreneurial companies define results-oriented sales and marketing strategies and put those strategy into
Jaideep Bajaj is managing director of ZS Associates. He can be reached at email@example.com