"To reach a port we must set sail – Sail, not tie at anchor – Sail, not drift" ― Franklin D. Roosevelt
At first glance, this quote from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, may seem to have very little to do with marketing – especially pharmaceutical marketing. At closer look, however, it actually has everything to do with how pharmaceutical companies approach marketing its products in an ever-changing healthcare environment.
The managed care model of delivering healthcare services has seen enormous growth, especially since the advent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Along with the various insurance mandates, the ACA includes coverage requirements, and service and transparency expectations. The Transparency Reports and Reporting of Physician Ownership or Investment Interests section of the ACA, commonly referred to as the “Sunshine Act,” was implemented in 2013. It requires applicable manufacturers of covered drugs, devices, biological products and medical supplies to annually report to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) information regarding payments, ownership, investment interests and other transfers of value to physicians and teaching hospitals. Now, more than ever before, the cost-value equation is at the forefront of many healthcare decisions.
If pharmaceutical companies, some of the largest companies in the world, are to be profitable, they must navigate this sea of change. Dropping anchor and sticking to decades-old marketing strategies or failing to change course and adapt to new demands and expectations, should not be part of any discussion — from pharma’s C-Suite down to the in-field marketing team. This is especially true when it comes to marketing to payers, who have enormous power over access to drug therapies. That power could be the difference between your drug making port or being lost at sea and forgotten.
Marketing to one aspect of healthcare or one set of stakeholders, as was done previously by initiating in-office visits with physicians and providing them drug samples and informational content, is no longer sufficient and is now nearly impossible to accomplish due to the reporting requirements of the Sunshine Act. Rather, pharma needs effective pull-through marketing strategies to increase:
- Patient acquisition
- Patient retention to therapy
Pull-through marketing targets key stakeholders throughout the healthcare delivery system as a bridge builder to physicians. Sales reps and marketing teams deliver simple, yet powerful, messages that are designed to appeal to specific decision makers, such as:
- Integrated delivery networks
- Hospital formulary managers
- Key opinion leaders
- National, regional and local policy makers
The goal is to find a win-win option for all stakeholders, including pharma. This kind of cross-functional engagement can be extremely successful in building awareness of the control payers have regarding access to drug therapies. This approach doesn’t have to be complicated or resource draining. In fact, it can help pharma focus its marketing resources in the most productive manner and with the most targeted messaging.
What are your biggest challenges when it comes to payer marketing? Tweet @MMITnetwork to have a conversation and check back later this week for part 2 of Perspectives on Payer Marketing.