As we look at 2008, I have a new thought for all us to consider.
We all need to consider the next level of Efficacy: servicing the patient.
Most pharma and biotech marketing folks grew up inside of the industry — this gives them a wealth of knowledge and unequalled understanding of the medications they market and the complexity of the multiple channels they need to serve, from managed care to professional to patient.
But what many miss, is that patients (as consumers) are used to and are coming to expect more and more: if I buy your product, you will service me like a customer.
So, once a patient is on your medication, you should do everything possible to get them to raise their hand and engage with you, and to do so, to truly scale patient-programs, we need to stop thinking by channel but instead by need.
People need support in nearly all decisions they make — none more so than related to health. And a brochure, a Web site and a direct mail piece that comes six weeks after you ask for information, just is not looking at what patients need — what HUMANS need — in the right way.
GSK has done a good job in understanding that you need to make yourself accessible to answer patients questions and provide that service — you see a face and a phone nmuber on all their Web sites.
What happens when your drug if fifth to market, or a blockbuster threatened by generic switching — what can you do? Service the patient, make it easy for them to build some trust and do not be afraid to answer their questions. After all, with an average of 4-8 minutes a visit, the doctor no longer provides the answers people need.
So, can an industry that acts like scienctists and manufacturers become experts at Service?