Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Taking social health to the next level

It’s tough to remember life before social media, but it’s still a young medium – Facebook is not yet ten years old, Twitter and Tumblr almost eight. Recently, though, the social space is doing some growing up, as formerly-scruffy networks on the media industry’s periphery have morphed into advertising behemoths, front and center. Pharma industry use of social media is at a turning point, as well, as companies that have been using OPDP imprecision as an excuse to keep hitting the snooze button wake up to the fact that consumers are getting health information (and misinformation) through social networks, and those firms that have been participating all along look to refine their approach beyond trial-and-error experimentation.

We’ve been sorting through our consumer data in preparation for an in-depth report on social health. The big takeaway, so far: It’s time for pharmas to deepen their understanding of social health, taking into account how factors like age, condition, and point in the patient journey affect where and how people seek health information and support through social media. But is the industry there, yet? We’d love to hear from clients working on these issues. Contact us at blog@manhattanresearch.com so we can include your critical business questions in our analysis.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A fond farewell to 2013, year of faceplanting federal exchanges and ever-increasing mobility


In the spirit of taking stock (and making listicles), here’s seven ways our world changed in 2013:

  1. The ACA’s insurance exchanges and Sunshine Act reporting provisions took effect. The full effects are TBD – will physicians shy away from industry contact? Will a glut of newly-insured Americans mean a spike in prescriptions for branded drugs? But the repercussions will be felt for many years.  Next up: Meaningful Use Stage 2 and ICD-10.
  2. Mobile arrived. Again. But this time, advertisers are taking the medium seriously and pharmas and medical publishers are moving to mobile-optimize their sites (a few steps behind their CPG counterparts, of course).
  3. The long-anticipated formulary backlash against copay cards began. Again.
  4. Physicians became increasingly tethered to their EHRs, spending more time on them than they do other digital resources and shaking up the digital screenflow paradigm.
  5. Self-tracking devices multiplied, with new fitness trackers rolled out at a dizzying rate and no end in sight (unless Google Glass or the iWatch wins us all over). Stage 3 meaningful use incentives, designed to speed patient access to self-management tools and data, are two short years off, and can only fuel the frenzy.
  6. Large pharmas continued to cut R&D, pointing to a future of smaller, more focused product portfolios and greater dependence on acquisitions and in-licensing for the biggest players.
  7. The patent cliff that has bedeviled the industry began to recede – but another looms (this one for biologics) in a few years.

Here’s to your health — and plenty of new and innovative therapies — in 2014!

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Image courtesy of 23andme.com

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.

For more information about accessing the study and Manhattan Research analysts, please visit the product page or contact sales@manhattanresearch.com.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013



Friday, October 18, 2013


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.

Read More

Friday, October 4, 2013


 Week’s end reads: