Step It Up: Branding Roundtable - Pharmaceutical Executive


Step It Up: Branding Roundtable

Pharmaceutical Executive

Our product is an injectable, and patients can be needle-phobic, or they can get needle fatigue. So it really does take a hands-on approach. In our case, by employing nurse educators, we saw a 40 percent improvement in adherence. We also have a new needleless device that is in development that will actually record the adherence and compliance and provide feedback to the physician.

CLINTON: What is the most pressing challenge for brands today?

MOSKOW: The brand has to work harder to bridge that gap between when the patient leaves the physician's office with the scrip and then needs to know exactly what to do with that.

Education is a big part of it. How do you get that into patients' hands? Especially with HIPPA regulations. But they need more information than they are getting in the average five-minute call.

HUNTSMAN: Let's face it, physicians are physicians and, not only do they not have a lot of time, but they are often not the best in communicating with patients about the disease or the product.

WES WILKES (managing director, Interbrand Wood Healthcare): Chantix is putting more resources into the cessation programs than into straight product advertising. It's doing an amazing job, and the company will start to see that it's going to have a relationship with these folks like no other by shifting the model away from the traditional product branding.

CONKLIN: We need to put more time into understanding how drugs fit into patients' lives in terms of maintenance. Our industry puts a lot of emphasis on getting patients started on medicine, but we also need to help patients continue their treatment. Many illnesses are chronic, yet patients stop taking their medicines when they shouldn't. When you see compliance issues in rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and even transplantation, you know there's more we need to undestand about our patients and more we need to do.

BREITSTEIN: Do you think companies can improve persistence?

WILKES: Not until they start to realize that it is much cheaper to maintain that patient base even after a patent expires. That will be the biggest shift—when pharma companies start seeing patients as patients for life, and treating them as such. Even in periods where they are investing money and losing money post–loss of exclusivity (LOE) and prelaunch.

PARRY: Like with Merck. It's not out of the cholesterol business. It is waiting to get back in big time.

CONKLIN: It will get better, but on a category-by-category basis. But you can't change society. Still, quite frankly, it's our responsibility to improve compliance. It's the right thing to do to educate a patient, to talk to a physician.

BOKEN: But sometimes that responsibility is disheartening. Because you're improving compliance literally one patient at a time, one day at a time, and that requires some commitment. It is like if you had to approach your marriage this way, you would just be so grateful to have made it another day. But the point is, while there never is going to be 100 percent compliance, it is reasonable to expect that we can improve it, and in the process, patients' lives.


CLINTON: Using the corporate brand in pharma marketing has both its benefits and its drawbacks. How do they stack up against one another?

GUARINI: There was never any corporate branding in this industry for two reasons. One—let's admit it—it was a very smug, insulated industry. It didn't need to do it. The other thing is if a product fell, and others were too closely aligned with the company name, the company would also take a hit. Even now, look at the marketplace. Johnson & Johnson has the best reputation in healthcare. But no Rx product carries the J&J logo—only Band-Aids and first aid and baby care.


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