Consumers continue to assume control: Navigate the changing landscape

One of the more important effects of healthcare reform and continued transformation of the pharmaceutical market place is the paradigm shift toward patient influence. As patients assume larger and larger copays and more Rx medications are predicted to be switched to OTC, patients will automatically be required to make more decisions about their healthcare. Or shall we say, if the patient doesn’t make a decision, the lowest cost – lowest value approach will be decided for them.

By Kathleen Relias

Navigating Landscape

Manufacturers have been more focused on consumers in recent years – The commercial focus has been largely focused around DTC advertising. Marketers have new and innovative choices in ways to market their products to consumers, thanks to technology. The managed care markets have been modeling patient data for years and built adherence models designed to cut costs. As we move toward an economic business model, outcomes will drive reimbursement and additional understanding of the consumer marketplace will be essential.

Mobile technology will play an increasing role in this marketing transformation. The pharmaceutical industry can look to the consumer package goods industry to understand the most progressive marketing approaches around technology. Text messages with offers and information are used in shopper marketing programs where real time point of purchase marketing is available today. Consumers can scan a QR code and immediately receive a coupon or offer on their smartphones. And once your cell number is collected, follow up text offers and announcements are common. The trend toward smart usage is increasing. If you think smart phones are only for the younger generation consider the following:

  • 44% of persons ages 44-54 own a smart phone *
  • 31% of persons ages 55-64 own a smart phone
  • 12% of persons 65+ own a smart phone

Companies now can collect insights via mobile technology for a real time reaction to stimulus or response to a question. These are largely used by consumer goods manufacturers and retailers to understand the in store experience. Imagine the doctor’s office or pharmacy as a place where these real time insights could be valuable.

In the future, consumers will have to make critical choices about where to spend their money and healthcare will be an area that consumers will struggle to navigate. Manufacturers will need to spend additional resources in educating consumers not only about diseases but also why a premium out of pocket branded product is a better decision than a Generic or Biosimilar.

The HBA Chicago chapter will continue to be a valuable resource to learn from others in the industry about the changing landscape and hear from local and national speakers. By networking with your HBA peers you learn from others in the industry.

*Forrester Research, 2011

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