Marketing to Professionals: Dr. Ambassador - Pharmaceutical Executive


Marketing to Professionals: Dr. Ambassador
Professionals can help generate industry goodwill among patients.

Pharmaceutical Executive

Reinvent the rep relationship Pharma companies have an enormous opportunity to reinvent their relationship with doctors by changing the way they prepare sales reps, and by revising the goals for the sales force. And they need to: Of the 90,000 reps, few are seen as authoritative sources of information. Only 28 percent of physicians say that what reps tell them about a drug outweighs what they hear in the news.

As physician time tightens, companies need to ensure that reps can make information available on demand, enlisting technology—such as e-mails and enhanced physician-driven websites—to strengthen the critical information flow.

Tune into the Physician Network In these turbulent times, pharma companies must open the lines of communication by engaging in routine conversations with healthcare professionals. After all, doctors have the ear of consumers and hear consumer concerns and complaints first-hand. Capturing and analyzing this consumer feedback is vital to understanding and satiating the needs of the American public.

Consumer information Companies must arm doctors with consumer-friendly materials and talking points that allow them to easily communicate needed information to patients. In the current environment, companies must move beyond the typical glossy pamphlets and brochures on new medications to more helpful materials, such as Q&A documents that address patient questions about medications, and even alternative treatment options.

Drug safety Supporting physicians' needs on a patient level is particularly vital when drug safety becomes an issue. To help physicians manage consumer concerns about drug safety, companies should create Web sites where physicians can download current information that is written for patients.

Share news But marketers shouldn't limit the information to crisis management. With new legislation pending, pharma companies must inform physicians and patient groups about the costs and benefits of regulatory changes. Stakeholders want to hear how regulatory issues will affect them. In addition, companies should let physicians know about good news, such as new products or community activities that might be relevant for their patient population.

Consumer Visibility In addition to redefining their relationship with physicians, pharma companies must develop an identity that guides how they address issues with the public. They must be open and honest with their customers—a lesson learned from how J&J handled the 1982 Tylenol crisis—and step out of the shadow of industry groups.

Bad press is inevitable. But negative stories do less damage if doctors don't hear about it first in the papers—and if patients know who makes their drugs before the next crisis arises. After all, if the industry is not prepared to talk, others will tell the story.

Brian Corvino
Launches Barrier Therapeutics announced that it plans to create a US sales organization for its company. It signed an agreement with Ventiv Health to assist in marketing two of its dermatological products.

Helen Boak
People Vincent T. DeVita was appointed editor-in-chief of the medical journal Current Clinical Trials: Oncology. PharmaStrat, a market research firm, added five new staff members to its research and analytics teams. Dave Gustafson joined as vice president of market research, Brian Corvino joined as manager of strategic services. Mary Beth Darr joined as senior analyst, Jessica Rute joined as marketing commmunications specialist, and Sarah Dobson joined as an associate analyst. Jill P. Bresnick, Brian K. Blitz, Beatrix Eriksen, and Wilhelmina Dingle were all promoted by Cligott Publishing Group, a publisher of medical journals and educational programs. The Hal Lewis Group named Helen Boak creative director.

Barry Zimmerman is CEO of NOP World Health. He can be reached at

Brad Fay is managing director of Roper Public Affairs, part of NOP. He can be reached at


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