Thursday, October 31, 2013
Pharmacists in Focus for Rx Marketing – 3 Key Multichannel Opportunities for Pharma Brands
Image courtesy of bluesmoon via Flickr
The U.S. healthcare landscape is drastically changing under new reform and pharmacists are stepping in to play a key role in care and supporting patients throughout their treatment plans. Moreover, pharmacists show significant demand for digital patient support services from pharma. These trends represent strategic opportunity for pharma commercial teams looking to support pharmacists who are playing growing role post healthcare reform.
Our latest Taking the Pulse® Pharmacists 2013 study highlights three key multichannel opportunities for brands to consider when evaluating ways to connect with pharmacist audiences:
Pharma-Sponsored Adherence Support: Pharmacists are on the front lines with patients when it comes to helping them take and stay on their medication - a critical role as the government and payers put more pressure on improving treatment outcomes. For example, more than 9 in 10 online retail pharmacists provide patients with adherence support. At the same time, pharmacists want pharma support in this regard. The Taking the Pulse® Pharmacist 2013 study found that more than 4 in 5 pharmacists surveyed have used or are interested in using pharma-sponsored adherence materials and support programs via their EHR.
Educational Materials on Pharma Websites: Pharmacists are also looking to pharma companies for educational materials for teaching and sharing with their patients. For example, 3 in 5 retail pharmacists are interested in accessing patient education materials on pharma product, corporate or service websites.
Online Promotion for Pharmacists: Various pharma companies are already beginning to expand their rep focus to pharma – particularly specialty pharmacists focused on the increasingly critical niche therapy market. Nearly half of specialty pharmacists have already used an on-demand presentation from a pharma company, such as recorded webcasts, videos, slideshows or animations, and a significant share of those who haven’t are interested in doing so.
Manhattan Research’s Taking the Pulse® Pharmacists study and advisory service is focused on helping pharma brands understand the evolving role pharmacists are playing in patient care and how brands can connect with pharmacists through multichannel marketing and sales strategies. The study was fielded in August 2013 among 754 retail, hospital and specialty pharmacists.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
- Google’s mobile business surged as a spike in mobile ad volume compensated for declining cost-per-click due to migration from PCs to mobile devices (and no wonder, with 95 million Americans using mHealth in 2013). But what cards is Facebook holding?
- WebMD has acquired patient engagement specialist Avado, which boasts a cloud-based, EHR-agnostic patient portal.
- Verizon is “transforming from a telephone company to a technology company” with a home health hub that features built-in EHR support.
- WellDoc model predicts dangerous episodes of low blood sugar in type 2 diabetes patients with 91% accuracy, based on a once-a-day blood test.
- Here comes Google’s smartwatch, with Apple’s possibly nipping at its heels.
- HealthTap takes a page from Apple with a Siri-like app that uses natural language processing to serve up answers to health questions.
- ACA Insurance Exchange-mageddon – where we stand: State exchanges, like those of California, New York and Kentucky, are reportedly running smoothly. Mixed reports on how the bug-ridden federal exchange website is progressing, but it won’t be fully-functional until at least mid-November, and initial enrollments will be small. There’s been a rash of sensational headlines as some people get ”cancellation notice” letters from insurers notifying that their plan is not compliant with the ACA and they must move to a different plan (which is likely to mean more coverage for most – at somewhat higher premiums for many). Insurers are pushing back on pols’ calls to extend the deadline for sign-up, saying it would cause premiums to spike. Meanwhile, Ohio’s governor forced a Medicaid expansion, going against his fellow Republicans in the state legislature, who had blocked it. A big step for the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, though many Southern and Midwestern states, including heavyweights like Florida and Texas, continue to hold out.
Friday, October 18, 2013
- Weight loss apps still aren’t taking a behavioral approach, study says.
- Express Scripts’ big branded pharma formulary purge: a PBM strikes back against co-pay cards.
- The Cancer Genome Atlas findings promise big implications for personalized medicine.
- What did the shutdown mean for pharmas? FDA is a month behind, and CDC has a backlog of millions of unread emails.
- Ezra Klein pronounces the bug-ridden Healthcare.gov launch “a disaster,” and OTC analgesics utilization soars in the vicinity of CMS headquarters (though state exchanges seem to be faring better).
- Hospitals and practices to patients: Pay your deductible or no doctor visit for you.
- Nice capsule history of macro forces in the pharma market over the past couple decades and how the tables turned on dinosaur-like large pharmas in favor of quick and agile small furry mammal startups.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Pharmacists, in their own words and by the numbers
by Shawn Dimantha, Principal Analyst
Friday, October 11, 2013
- Mobile advertising increased 145% in the first half of 2013 to $3 billion in the U.S., according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The spike comes as mega-advertisers like Unilever and Mondelez jump in with big campaigns, though mobile remains a small share of adspend overall – one plagued by the lack of a tracking standard and unobtrusive ad formats that don’t just annoy viewers, writes The Wall Street Journal.
- The wearables arms race (rimshot) rolls on. Fitbit’s new Force band looks like a smartwatch, acts like a fitness tracker. In addition to the fashion-forward packaging, they’ve added an altimeter, and it will vibrate to alert iPhone users to incoming calls.
- Where we are in the shift towards qualitative carrots for health systems and providers: Humana says nearly a third of its health plan members are treated by providers under “value-based” – as opposed to fee-for-service – reimbursement contracts
- The Nielsen Twitter TV rating debuts — just in time for the IPO!
- Healthtap counts 10,000 lives saved and takes a star turn in the Times: “HealthTap’s evolution shows how moving to behavioral psychology has helped it increase its number of users and the number of doctors who offer knowledge on the site at no cost.”
- The Times also has an interesting look at why people prefer branded drugs. A top-shelf psychology may be at work in consumer preference for branded drugs, the article suggests, but it rightly notes the plague of recalls and instances where generics haven’t worked as well as branded drugs.
Social media and emotional marketing
by Matthew Arnold, Principal Analyst
MM&M has a look at the role of emotion in patient marketing, mostly through social channels. “Industry’s emotional challenge in social media is how to appear genuine,” they write, touching on Lundbeck’s Facebook-centric “Who Moves You” campaign for Huntington’s Disease patients and caregivers:
If done right, these efforts are seen as “meeting a need, not promoting a brand,” adds Wendy White, founder and president of Siren. The page has almost 3,700 likes. That’s over 10% of the estimated 30,000 people with HD in the US, she observes.
Friday, October 4, 2013
Week’s end reads:
- The good news is that lots of people want to buy insurance through the new Affordable Care Act exchanges. The bad news is that many are being turned away by glitches and swamped servers.
- Pretty devastating Times piece on who’s being left out of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion (and here’s a look at how the Medicaid expansion battle might impact pharmas).
- A government shutdown didn’t stop the launch of the insurance exchanges, but it is impacting patients at the NIH clinical center.
- With physicians ever fewer and scarcer, and a flood of new patients set to enter the system, a doctor surveys the medical turf wars and comes out on the side of empowering NPs and PAs.
- Like Misfit, Jawbone sees its future in fashion as much as tech.
- You’ve probably heard of fecal transplants and the fascinating science emerging around the microbiome? Well, a Canadian infectious diseases doc has figured out how to package C. diff-fighting poop into a pill. There’s definitely room for pharma expertise here – right now, they’re hand-made and a day’s course may consist of 35 pills.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Long lines online for health insurance
by Matthew Arnold, Principal Analyst
So much for the soft launch. The Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges opened yesterday, and demand promptly crashed Healthcare.gov as the site saw more than a million visitors before 7 a.m., according to President Obama, who added that that’s five times more visitors than Medicare.gov has ever seen at one time.
“That gives you a sense of how important this is to millions of people around the country,” said the Navigator-in-Chief in a Rose Garden speech imploring the uninsured to visit the site, where “you can compare insurance plans side by side, the same as you’d shop for a plane ticket on Kayak or a TV on Amazon.”
The president noted that even Apple had to squash some bugs after last week’s iPhone updates, though it seems like HHS wasn’t expecting an Apple Store-on-release-day-style crush of insurance-seekers. Sites for some state-run exchanges went down, too.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Medicaid and the ACA’s opportunity cost for pharmas
by Matthew Arnold, Principal Analyst
The Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges open in a few days, and the insurance provisions of the law take effect in a few months. Regardless of the last-minute political shenanigans, this thing is happening.
So how’s it looking for pharmas? Well, the logic behind the industry’s buy-in to healthcare reform was that as an estimated 30 million uninsured Americans come in from the cold, enough of them would get branded drugs and biologics to more than make up for the steep discounts the industry promised to federal programs. Also, it would go a long ways toward solving the nation’s crisis of uninsured (and therefore undertreated and undermedicated) individuals.
But that number – 30 million uninsured, brought into the healthcare system – figured prominently in calculations as industry leaders performed their cost-benefit analyses and elected to buy an almost-$100 billion seat at the negotiation table.
There are many shoes yet to drop here – will the exchanges work? Will any of the healthy Young Invincibles sign up to offset the sick and the not-quite-old-enough-for-Medicare-or-poor-enough-for-Medicaids? Will all of the highest users enlist en masse, sending premiums through the roof? But one thing’s for sure – and here’s where we come back to politics – we’re unlikely to hit that 30 million number anytime soon.
A few of the week’s more memorable reads:
- The FDA finally finalized guidance for regulated mobile medical apps, limiting its purview to those apps that either facilitate a regulated medical device or turn a smartphone or tablet into a regulated medical device – in short, those apps which, if buggy or ill-designed – can hurt you.
- Pfizer is giving video detailing another go in the UK with Pfizerline, a service that lets docs book time with reps for remote details.
- So, how are those Medicare ACOs doing? Early indications aren’t super-positive.
- UNAIDS says “treatment as prevention” – getting HIV drugs into the hands of 10 million people in low-to-middle income countries – has sharply curbed new infections over the past decade, with new infections among children are down 52% since 2001. Now the goal is to get ARV meds to 15 million patients in those countries by 2015.
- The insurance exchanges soft-launch next week, and a number of sizable companies are dropping the low-end, bare-bones “mini-med” plans they offer employees and sending them to the exchanges instead. That will mean greater scale for the exchanges and, for those employees on the low end of the pay scale, low-to-no increase in premiums – but it calls into question the future of employer-based health insurance.
- The Affordable Care Act: Huge and hugely glitchy. But also kittenish. This latest demonstration of the Obama Administration’s digital marketing chops might not bring “Young Invincibles” into the exchanges in droves, thereby preventing an adverse-selection death spiral, but hey, it’s worth a try.