Feelings Outweigh Facts - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Feelings Outweigh Facts
Your new drug works? Patients don't care how. They want to know what it means in their lives.


Pharmaceutical Executive


But even as co-pays continue to become more important for insured consumers, the factor that affects most consumers' drug decisions is their perception of efficacy, which accounts for more than 40 percent of consumer's decisions to switch products. Cost accounts for only five percent and awareness of an alternative medication accounts for one percent of the decision. (See "Seeking an Alternative".)

Opportunity Knocks

The increasing number of cost switchers in the marketplace creates more opportunity but requires additional responsibility from manufacturers. Product manufacturers can anticipate the need to build consumer perceptions of brand value by communicating how their products contribute to a more fulfilling lifestyle among target groups. To accomplish this, brand teams need to develop consumer trust and reliability by doing the following:

Create educational support for physicians Doctors need to know what matters to their patients. What do they value? What do they look for when seeking treatment for their disease? Eighty percent of consumers rely on their physician to tell them about appropriate drugs for their conditions, so it's important to educate doctors and their staff about what patients want.

Create educational materials for patients Self-evaluation cards and informational material help consumers determine what they want out of their therapy. This also allows them to monitor the progress of their therapy and see if it is as effective as it should be.

Create brand value Design and deliver messaging to consumers that shows a brand's value. Positive messaging motivates patients to continue filling prescriptions.


Seeking an Alternative
Reducing noncompliance benefits everyone who is concerned about the patient. While physicians may naturally focus on symptoms and health metrics, attending to the emotional motivators for filling prescriptions improves compliance as it increases consumer satisfaction.

David Rees is a principal of Health Strategies Group based in Lambertville, N.J., where he directs the firm's consumer practice. He can be reached at


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