Judge a Drug By Its Cover

October 1, 2006

Successful Product Manager's Handbook

Volume 0, Issue 0

1 Consider packaging early on in marketing strategy development. When consistent and accurate dosing is important to your drug's efficacy-as it normally is-packaging options that enhance patient compliance should be bumped to the top of the list. Though it may cost a little more, the right packaging can produce a healthy return on investment-packaging can improve compliance, drug efficacy, and re-order rates.

1 Consider packaging early on in marketing strategy development. When consistent and accurate dosing is important to your drug's efficacy—as it normally is—packaging options that enhance patient compliance should be bumped to the top of the list. Though it may cost a little more, the right packaging can produce a healthy return on investment—packaging can improve compliance, drug efficacy, and re-order rates.

2 Use unique packaging to promote brand identity. Color and graphics are important, but packaging today can appeal to more than just sight—touch, sound, and even smell can be incorporated to emphasize brand characteristics.

3 Plan ahead to maintain brand identity throughout the life cycle. Physician sample kits, which include the sample and drug information, can be introduced in the same package that goes out to pharmacies. This way, dosage directions are reinforced, and consumers and healthcare providers can identify with the brand. Drug sample kits also provide opportunities for companies to cross-promote its other products: If a drug causes dry skin, for example, that company might include a sample of lotion. Unique product packaging continues as Rx products go OTC, highlighting the brand in a cluttered retail environment.

4 Capitalize on consumer trends and insights. Consumers today are more health-conscious and are taking greater interest in the environment than they used to. At the same time, consumers are favoring convenience, and often need to take medications with them to work or on trips. Portable packages that fit in purses and briefcases make this easier. And re-useable packaging, while convenient, also boosts brand image because it shows that a company is eco-friendly.

5 Apply new technology to enhance the consumer experience. Imagine the possibilities: Packages identify and protect your product, but they also can interact and remind. For example, since drugs degrade faster at higher temperatures, the "use by" date on the package must be accurate so consumers are not taking expired drugs or throwing away active pills. Companies are thinking of innovative ways to create packaging that preserves the drug and that's cost-effective in the long run. Think toward the future, about what new technologies can do for packaging your product. They just might provide the answer to some of the challenges your brand is facing today.

Nancy MacCreery is a marketing manager for MeadWestvaco Healthcare Packaging. She can be reached at ndm2@meadwestvaco.com