We all know the importance of Call Centres in Customer Service support and telemarketing . Today many drug companies are investing on Pharmaceutical Call centres. What are Pharmaceutical Call centres ? Why are drug companies investing in them? What are the marketing strategies behind those closed doors?
Evaluating The marketing environment of Pharma Industries
Unlike other fields, the specific feature of the pharmaceutical marketing consists in the fact that the pharmaceutical industry creates and manufactures the drug, which is not like any other product as it cannot be bought freely or at the consumer’s discretion. For a patient, the drug is a special product used to cure diseases, to protect or to improve his health.
In the context of stringent marketing regulations and an increasing competitive landscape, the Pharmaceutical industry is under much pressure to maximise the return on investment . The development cost of bringing a new pharmaceutical product to market is astronomical and the companies producing Generic brands are becoming better and more sophisticated day by day.(Journal of medical Marketing)
However ,the 65+ segment of the population will nearly doubled in the next 2 decades and those who are within this age group take on an average 5 to 6 prescription medicines. Also with more people opting for Health Insurance plans in developing counties , the access to prescription drugs will increase .
For many years , drug companies have marketed their drugs primarily by informing doctors about the latest development in therapeutic practices and thus convincing them to prescribe their products . The strategy has worked well. But there is a drag on profits as many people do not take the drugs they have been prescribed (Non -adherence).
Non -adherence represents a serious financial blow to the pharmaceutical industry – as much as $560 billion a year in revenue losses –Capgemin Consultancy (Read More)
In a 2003 report on patient adherence to prescription medications, the World Health organisation estimated that only about half of patients suffering from chronic illness take their medication as prescribed (Read More).
Where to play : Setting the goals
Getting patients to get their prescriptions filled and refilled ,preferably in perpetuity to achieve customer retention and brand loyalty.
How to win :Strategy and Planning
The failure to follow medical instructions can damage patients’ health .Many of these illnesses can be managed effectively if patients stick closely to drugs regiment prescribed by their doctors. Yet many patients fail to do that .”Approximately 30%to 50% of US adults are not adherent to long term medication leading to an estimated $100 billion preventable hospital admission cost annually.( Read More )
Armed with the logic that increasing adherence with prescription medications is supposed to improve patient health , increasing drug sales can be packaged as a form of public service. By investing in Adherence Programs , pharmaceutical marketers glide easily from “better patient outcomes” to “better brand performance”.
Patient-Centricity, the New Source of Competitive Advantage
To get people to take their medication every day ,for the rest of their lives -requires changing people’s “beliefs, intentions, and values”.Drug companies have learned that DTC advertising cannot do that. The Adherence Programs provide personal interactions with people whom patients trust. Drug companies are turning to nurses, pharmacists and “patient ambassadors” to tailor and deliver frequent ,personalised interactions with patients in order to promote adherence.
Drug companies have established drug-specific call centres staffed by nurses (eg MS Lifelines for Rebif and Active Source for Tysabri) so that patients who have been prescribed one of these drugs can call and ask questions about how to use the drug or manage its side effects. These pharma’s nurses can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days week. These nurses also make outgoing calls to check on patients and help them work through any challenges they might be having in sticking with the drug and offer them emotional support.
Even patients are playing an increasing role in pharmaceutical marketing. The key role of patient peers , is to provide other patients with strategies to approach their medication regiment and foster belief in a successful treatment outcome. But the real purpose of the pharma nurses and patient peers is to ensure that customers stay loyal to the brand and aim at customer retention.
Patient adherence programs have been successful as patients believe they are receiving medical care- a service that target at promoting their health. And to policymakers desperate to reduce health care costs, the promise of adherence programs -to promote health without cutting services -may be too attractive to resist. This “Customer-Specific Solution” that is – Bundle expertise, services, and products into a total customized package that takes care of the customer’s problem has paid off for the drug companies.
Doing well (as pharmaceutical industry ) by Doing good ( for Patients)
Published by : Garveeta Sookram ( ID : 216331958 )
Dennis Z. Kvesic ( Journal of Medical Marketing , 2008 )
NORWALK, Conn., Nov. 26, 2012 /- Capgemini Consulting
Marcum ZA; Sevick MA,Handler SM: Medication non adherence , JAMA 2013