Professional Promotion Through Patient Understanding - Pharmaceutical Executive


Professional Promotion Through Patient Understanding
Patient-feedback programs can go a long way in helping physicians understand which drugs work

Pharmaceutical Executive

A recent study found that new prescriptions saw a boost when product messaging was combined with patient feedback
Patients and physicians were disappointed with the product's performance and the sales force quickly lost confidence in its selling messages. Consequently, the brand team dove into a repositioning effort that focused on helping physicians identify the right patient type for the product. They accomplished this goal by using a feedback program that incorporated an in-office screening questionnaire designed by physician thought leaders. The screening tools were provided to physicians by sales reps and aided the physicians in identifying the ideal patients for the medication. Physicians then encouraged these patients to participate in surveys about their treatment experience.

Feedback reports informed the physician about the patient's pre-and post-medication experience. Program data were aggregated to show practice-level response information as well as regional and national summaries, and to highlight the different patient experiences for each of the patient types.

Because the reports offered aggregated data in conjunction with individual data, physicians received reinforcement about the product at both the 1-to-1 level and the summary level. As a result, physicians were able to match appropriate patients to the product. After nine months of this correction, the brand team saw a 45 percent lift in new prescriptions (NRx) for the product among physicians who had been engaged in the initiative relative to the unexposed matched control physicians.

Charting the Course

This example isn't the only proof that patient feedback works. IMS Health recently studied the impact of building product messaging in conjunction with direct feedback programs in a variety of therapeutic classes (see "Average NRx Lift," left). Encompassing more than 20 feedback programs conducted over the past three years and involving more than 150,000 MDs, the study showed that this approach generates an NRx lift of almost 40 percent overall—incremental to a baseline of unexposed physicians. However, the study revealed even more startling information.

First, consider that 27.8 percent of the NRx lift resulted from the delivery of product messaging only. This statistic represents physicians who are exposed only to the first part of a patient-feedback program, namely the key product messages. For these physicians, the presentation of these messages alone effectively created lift for the product relative to a matched control group of unexposed physicians. In many ways, this is a promotional fail-safe: If a sales rep is not able to encourage a physician to test the product on his or her own patients, the company will still be able to convey and to reinforce the key messages via the feedback program.

However, it is in the circumstance where those key messages get tied directly to an individual patient that the really significant lift develops. The study reported a 90.9 percent lift for physicians exposed to both the direct product messages and the individual feedback. In other words, it doesn't take a lot to shift the demand curve when you marry the potency of the product's key messages with the specificity of an individual patient.

Paul LeVine is vice president, analytic services at InfoMedics. He can be reached at

Jeanne Zucker is senior vice president, strategic business development at InfoMedics. She can be reached at


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