Marketing to Professionals: The Formulary Rebound - Pharmaceutical Executive


Marketing to Professionals: The Formulary Rebound
Marketers' professional strategies often fall on deaf ears when there is a cheap alternative available. Here are some tactics that make your brand heard.

Pharmaceutical Executive


WILL REESE, vice president of marketing strategy with Cadient Group
One way to do this is by building a strong patient support system for the drug. This strategy is a differentiator in a category that has a lot of options which can span many different price points, and it is an up-sale opportunity for the sales force, and a value-add for the physician. One support system could be nurse-counseling hotline, which would allow physicians to distribute a phone number that patients can call if they have questions or issues withthe drug. If there is some uniqueness to the delivery method of the product, marketers also can provide doctors with educational DVDs that feature directions on how to use the delivery system.


SUSAN MILLER, founding partner of the CementWorks
When it comes to lifestyle drugs, companies have to prove the real value of the prescription to the physicians. Marketers have to put the drug into a context of a medical condition that is worth the doctors' attention. In the erectile dysfunction market, we had to show that the condition impacts self esteem, sense of confidence, and the patients' relationships—and in fact, it could be a marker for other medical conditions, such as hypertensive conditions or metabolic issues. The next step is to show that there is a benefit to treating the condition and why it is better than the alternative medications.


ROBERT PAGLIA, senior vice president, managed markets strategic director at Sudler & Hennessey
Drug companies must differentiate the product from its competition based on data that are relevant, believable, and compelling. The more compelling the differentiation, the more likely providers will prescribe your product, even when faced with formulary restrictions. Differentiation should be established on several levels, the most important of which is the clinical differentiation—but there is also dosing and administration, compliance and persistence, position on nationally-accepted treatment guidelines, and impact of patient quality of life.


MICHAEL TREPICCHIO, president of Publicis Healthcare Group, North America advertising
Marketers have to focus on segmentation—who are the right doctors and patients to call on? Not everyone is going to be able to pay for the same products. Agencies need to look at the particular area that the doctor is located in. After all, you wouldn't see a Mercedes Benz S-Class marketed to a community where the average income is $50,000. If it's a lifesaving drug then that's a different story, but if you look at lifestyle products—say ED—you are not going to promote it in an area where the people can't afford it.


DANA REGAN, vice president, managing director, Torre Lazur managed markets
In certain situations, clinical evidence and quality of life may outweigh the costs of higher-priced drugs. In such instances—and when feasible—patients should be given the option to pay for a non-formulary drug, especially if it halts the progression of their disease or extends life. It's important to discuss all the options with patients. Choosing a higher-priced drug should always be a collaborative decision between the provider and the patient—let the evidence help them decide.


JOHN RACIK, president and CEO, Stonefly Communications Group
The key is educating physicians and patients about the differences between the brand and alternative products or generics, so they can understand fully the clinical, practical, or emotional benefits of the branded medicine. If physicians and patients perceive the brand as having unique value, they will be more likely to choose it over lower-cost alternatives. Another tool is patient persistency programs. If physicians know that there is a mechanism in place to help keep their patients compliant, they will be more likely to prescribe the brand.


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