Usually, at this time of the year, editors look back on the major stories of the past year. Let's be different and look forward to the New Year! Not that it's going to be any more pleasant than the old year; it's just better to prepare for what's coming than to reminisce about what's come and gone.
Of course, the elephant in the room is the economy. But what about the new political realities, which will be driven by the failing economy, that the industry must prepare for?
Prepare Now for the Coming FDA and Pharmaceutical Marketing Reforms
"The two traditional means by which pharmaceutical marketers have
relied on for many, many years to encourage the uptake of new
pharmaceutical products -- direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising and physician
marketing -- are about to change," warned Mark S. Senak, J.D., SVP,
Fleishman-Hillard and author of Eye On FDA Blog, in a presentation at the recent DTC
in the Era of Consumer Choice conference.
Senak summarized all
the possibly policy changes coming down the pike that will specifically
impart pharmaceutical marketing. He also suggests what the industry
should be doing to meet these challenges.
This article is summarizes Senak's presentation, which he later expanded upon in a YouTube video.
Going Beyond Sales Force Effectiveness to Customer Experience Satisfaction
"While free samples clearly play a valuable role in helping millions of
financially-struggling patients get access to the medicines they need
to live healthier lives, patients should know there are other options,"
said Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)
Senior Vice President Ken Johnson.
Among the "other options"
patients have to get access to the medicines they need are the over 200
Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) sponsored by pharmaceutical and
biotech companies. Patient assistance programs are offered by
pharmaceutical companies to help low-income, under-insured, or
uninsured individuals and families afford necessary medications, with
reduced-cost or free prescription drugs.
Market Strategies' 2008 MSImage Oncology Patient Assistance Program is a syndicated study that identified what oncologists and oncology practice managers perceive to be the top pharmaceutical PAPs in the industry. The survey identified how PAPs influence
overall corporate image among physicians, what performance
measures drive a pharmaceutical company's PAP image, and which
companies are perceived as having the best PAP.
This article reviews this research with comments from Peter Carlin, Senior Vice President of Market Strategies.
What Daschle Plans to Do About the Healthcare Crisis
"The time has come, finally, to fix our broken health-care system,"
says Tom Daschle in the close of best-selling book, "Critical: What We
Can to Do About the Healthcare." Daschle, of course, is Obama's choice
for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Daschle will also lead a
new White House office of health reform.
To paraphrase General
Patton, "Daschle, you magnificent bastard, we read your book!" Which is
what all pharmaceutical executives and marketers should do. After all,
Daschle warns that the "health-care industry would have to reconsider
its business model" and he include pharmaceutical companies as part of
the "health-care industry."
For those among you who do not have
time to read Daschle's book, Pharma Marketing News has done it for you.
This article summarizes the main points Daschle makes and reveals his
plan for "fixing" the problem.
"[The Committee on Energy and Commerce in the US House and
Representatives] has found that FDA not only failed in its basic
mission, but refused to admit its failures and take steps to protect
Americans from unsafe food and drugs," said Rep. John D. Dingell
(D-MI), former chairman of that committee. "In the 111th Congress, the
committee will swiftly move FDA reform legislation that is needed to
ensure FDA does its job." Now that Henry Waxman is the new chairman,
"swift" may be inadequate to describe the changes ahead for the FDA.
biggest and possibly most important change, however, is who
President-elect Obama and his Secretary of HHS, Tom Daschle, decide to
nominate for the new FDA Commissioner.
seems like everyone in the Pharma Blogosphere and the press is
recommending or wondering who Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach's replacement
To help take the pulse of various stakeholders, Pharma
Marketing News hosted the "Who Should Obama Nominate for FDA
Commissioner?" survey starting in November, 2008. 475
consumers, healthcare professionals, government agency staffers, and
drug industry executives have voted in this survey. This article
summarizes the results.
Update (December, 2011): Replacing the FDA Commissioner may have been a necessary, but NOT SUFFICIENT pre-requisite for reforming the FDA. Not even a reform-minded commissioner like Margaret Hamburg, M.D. -- who was nominated to the post after this article was first published -- can change things when the FDA is beholding to the Department of Health and Human Services. This was made evident when HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over-rode FDA's decision to allow the over-the-couinter sale of Plan B One-Step to girls younger than 17 (see "Sebelius vs. Hamburg on OTC Plan B Decision").
Meanwhile, there is a new call for FDA reform that would take the F.D.A. out of the Department of Health and Human Services and make it an independent agency, like the Fed (op cit).