The true industry measures that build physician confidence
This month, Pharmaceutical Executive, in cooperation with Evaluate Ltd, will be producing the 2020 annual rankings of the top 50 biopharma companies. The rankings are based on total Rx revenues. But is this measurement what doctors are looking for? Beyond annual revenues, what attributes build confidence among healthcare professionals (HCPs)? We asked them.
Healthcare Research and Analytics (HRA®) conducted interviews with 154 US-based physicians to better understand the leadership attributes they value in a biopharma company. Using a scale of 1 to 7, where 1 means they strongly disagree and 7 means they strongly agree, physicians were asked to rate several important leadership characteristics for pharmaceutical companies. More than 8 in 10 (84%) rated a “strong commitment to research and development,” a 6 or 7. Further, they prize leading pharmaceutical companies that consistently innovate, bringing new products to market that deliver superior results. It is one thing, this implies, to launch new molecules, but those that develop brands with enhanced value to patient care deserve greater admiration. Producing a single innovation is a major contribution. As with any sports star, however, consistency is the hallmark of a top talent. A basketball player may score 25 points on a single night. But true greatness is accomplishing that feat consistently. Being able to deliver such innovation time and time again is proof positive of a biopharma manufacturer deserving of the highest status.
Build an arsenal
Aligning with a commitment to research and development, physicians also noted the importance of leading companies offering a strong product portfolio. When companies show a determination to offer many significant options for a given condition, doctors admire the focus on not just selling individual brands, but also creating a brand architecture approach for an all-encompassing portfolio. Conditions such as diabetes, disorders of the mind, and cancer are truly complex, with high morbidity and mortality consequences. A breadth of solutions arms physicians with varied ammunition. R&D and strong product portfolios are to be expected. However, in addition to these two attributes, HCPs determine biopharma company leadership by their commitment to and investment in both physician education and support (74%). A product franchise approach permits a greater ability to offer more than just brands. Patient welfare is also measured by broad education initiatives, and financial assistance programs that help patients afford the medications they need (70%).
Tell the truth
Let’s face it: no manufacturer wants to point out the downside of their products. But when it comes to the health and wellbeing of patients’ lives, a balanced presentation of benefits and risks will earn doctors’ respect. They expect transparency around the efficacy and safety of these brands. They want pharma companies to effectively communicate the hard truth about the products they deliver (78% strongly agree). Apart from the practices they’ve built and their individual accomplishments, doctors place a vital importance on the integrity of their reputation. Brands are a reflection of customer values. If physicians don’t sugarcoat the news they must deliver to the patients in their care, then they want companies to honor this same standard.
Let’s bring up the practice of “Belief Dynamics.” There are “It beliefs” that reveal how doctors think about the brand (the “It”). Then there are “Me beliefs” that dig deeper and examine how physicians think about themselves when they use a brand. Going further still, we reach “Them beliefs”—how HCPs feel about how others see them when they use a brand. If physicians advocate for a brand that isn’t forthcoming about its genuine attributes, it threatens their reputation in the minds of colleagues and patients. Unhappy patients are not shy in this era of online reviews. And doctors are very aware when a new patient appears on their doorstep because they prefer a higher standard of care than that delivered by a familiar colleague. Be respectful with physicians and they will, in turn, respect the company that shares their values.
In summary, leading manufacturers do indeed generate strong revenues, but according to HCPs, their real leadership is measured by their commitment to R&D, delivering an effective product portfolio, providing meaningful physician support, demonstrating genuine concern for patient welfare, and exhibiting a highly ethical approach to business.