Sibley: It's interesting that it's taken us many, many years to finally think of patients as "consumers." We have to understand them
much better in terms of their wants and needs, just like in the consumer packaged goods industry: What are their media habits,
what grabs them? How do they respond to different media, different messages?
In addition to patients and prescribers, pharma must attend to new customers–and better understand the interaction between
them. ImpactRx's Nancy Lurker (top right) says that applying more analytical information to customers will become a significant
competitive advantage for companies.
Slack: This is a return to ethnography. Finding out and relating to the essence of our customers' world.
Lurker: Getting your patients to stay on therapy longer requires a very deep understanding of all their motivations. It requires
very sophisticated techniques, for which the industry has a learning curve. The ability to become more scientific and more
analytical—and then applying that information— is going to become a significant competitive advantage.
GFK's Richard Vanderveer (above) says pharma must help physicians better manage data on genetically targeted therapies.
Cooke: We all know that it's going to get even harder to get a patient to dole out more cash on a monthly basis to take something.
If we don't change attitudes, the barriers will stay the same. The consumer packaged goods' industry may also provide some
guidance here: How do they get somebody to eat the same potato chip for 20 years?
Sibley: Some of the agencies are doing very good work understanding all of those deep-seated emotional attitudes related to adherence.
They're really starting to make an impact. For example, some are conducting in-use product tests of various little devices
that click at a certain time to remind consumers to take their medication.
BMS' Sanjay Bajpai (center) says patients taking expensive drugs are already hitting the doughnut hole. Companies are working
on how best to estimate those numbers, but the overall prognosis has some brand managers nervous about hitting their target
goals for the year.
Vanderveer: We should also be looking at physician practices as ecosystems—and as businesses. Some practices have patients concentrated
on a certain prescription drug plan. That starts to touch on the spillover phenomenon, the critical point where so many patients
are covered by a particular formulary that a doctor treats everyone like they're on that same formulary.
Bajpai: Traditionally, we don't really know employers. But they are pushing more cost containment through patients as part of co-insurance
plans or CDHPs [consumer-directed health plans].
The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) is also gaining in importance. Effective January 1, 15 to 25 percent
of the business goes over to Medicare. Right now, we're tracking it and trying to understand who are the winners. But from
my perspective, it's pretty much a given that CMS will be at the table negotiating prices with us.