The Buddy System - Pharmaceutical Executive

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The Buddy System


Pharmaceutical Executive


Companies know very well how physicians and patients will react to a product, but this doesn't mean they really know the holistic needs of their customers. Pharma companies want to better understand the needs of patients, and serve them as much as they can, along with physicians as their partners. If you get people who drop off treatment, it's a loss of revenue for the industry. And we know that sometimes people do just drop off their treatment. They won't fill the prescription. So from a purely business perspective, it makes sense to get closer to patients in the area of compliance.

How does the movement toward partnership with stakeholders influence the sales model?

The traditional model was sales force based. Depending on the product, the sales force effort might be combined with DTC in the US in order to create patient demand. Today, the industry is moving toward reducing the size of the sales force, and putting in place a multichannel information-based marketing approach.

Sales reps are looking at the physician as someone with whom they need to employ more listening and more understanding, rather than simply pushing a product on him.

Which patient advocacy group is the most vocal about claiming a stake in pharma?

That's a difficult question because there are many groups, and some are not as well organized as others. Some, like seniors, are huge in terms of sheer numbers, and very well organized. Some focus on rare diseases, and do not necessarily have a voice at the table yet—but they're trying different ways to make themselves heard. I wouldn't say one group is more vocal than others; I think they are all trying to be part of the influence network in the system.

Patients have to have a voice. They will probably increase their presence, if not to make sure that their needs are taken into account, just to make sure that since they are paying more they can counterbalance the impact of managed care and the transfer of the cost of healthcare from the employer to their own wallet. And while many consumers are becoming aware and asking questions, it doesn't mean they're necessarily well informed or well prepared to deal with the most dramatic situations.

Jean-Marc Neimetz is vice president and life sciences industry team leader for Capgemini in North America. He is responsible for the development of Capgemini Life Sciences capabilities and strategic partnerships, as well as for management of key assignments in the area of strategy and transformation. He frequently designs and implements large transformation programs with major pharmaceutical and biotech companies. He has been a business consultant for over 17 years.

Executives on Market Changes

Capgemini asked over 100 pharmaceutical executives, "In a nutshell, what is your view of the nature of the changes we've started to see in how pharmaceutical products are brought to market?" The answers:

51% chose "structural" (responses to fundamental shifts in the market)

38% chose "incremental" (continuation of longer term trend)

11% chose "temporary" (short term reactions to current challenges)

SOURCE: Capgemini, 2008


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