Category: Medical Marketing

Storytelling in a Zoom Fatigued World

Check this out. What you will see is a piece on how pharma needs to work extra hard in 2021 to capture attention. Much of our population suffers from pandemic-induced Zoom fatigue. Virtually everyone is awash in streaming media from hundreds of sources. The result? The bar for attention-grabbing has been raised significantly. What to do? Get over using simple graphics and move on to emotion-grabbing “visual storytelling.” Sophisticated cinematography. Speed, clarity, accuracy. These are all boxes that must increasingly be checked if we are to grab our increasingly sophisticated customers’ attention. As this piece points out, the elegance with which a spot is shot is now as important as the strategy underlying the message. 

Bottom Line. BUT. This is not just art for art’s sake. Powerful renditions, it is argued here, draw people into the story, raise emotions, let the viewer experience what the people in the story they are watching are experiencing. 

Gone are the days of “Pop Pop Fizz Fizz, oh what a relief it is” being all you needed to sell Alka Seltzer. 

Long gone! 

No Kidding!!!

STAT Check out this piece. It describes how healthcare related charities fine-tune their solicitation lists by leasing the customer lists of high-end retailers. Bottom Line. I know. Not a lot of news value here. BUT. Study the article in greater detail, and you will learn how purchasers of high end women’s clothing, runners and wine drinkers wind up being especially juicy targets. Why? Wealth AND responsiveness must be taken into consideration in targeting efforts, and people on these lists tend to have/be both! What can we learn from this?

Creating A Condition To Sell A Drug

Journal of Medical Ethics In pharmaceutical marketing, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Over the years, many pharmaceutical companies have spent millions of dollars to have their advertising agencies invent a disease, and then using CME programs to convince doctors that the disease actually exists, and should be actively diagnosed and treated in their practices. Check out this recent example, which may see “hypoactive sexual desire disorder,” a “condition” arguably created to prepare physicians to write Addyi with both fists for women not wanting to initiate sex every night, go down as the gold standard of this marketing approach. Note the key elements here. Create the condition, make it easy to diagnose, make it seem politically incorrect not to be treating the condition (After all, men have long had Viagra for “ED”!!!), etc. Bottom Line. On the other hand, Addyi may well get trumped on this one. Thomas Szasz, for example, has long argued that most of Psychiatry is based on treating trumped up “conditions.” To really understand the art of creating “disorders” and using the results to sell drugs, you might like to check out his seminal work, The Medicalization of Everyday Life. How much longer will the pharmaceutical industry be able to get away with using this marketing approach? Probably for quite a while before the FDA or some other regulatory body shuts it down. BUT. Let’s see how many insurers will pay for the products that the creation of these disorders is designed to sell!

Namenda…The Final Chapter???

Actavis I’ve previously written about the Namenda “forced switch.” I’ve noted that a suit had been filed to compel Actavis to continue to manufacture the short acting form of the product, thereby potentially derailing the company’s plans to get patients switched over to the sustained release version with its higher price and extended patent protection. I’ve also noted that heretofore, the company’s marketing strategy for the sustained release form had been so successful that they were having difficulty manufacturing sufficient supply to meet demand. To find how this movie turns out, go to a new Reuters article. There, you will find that an agreement has been reached in the case, with Actavis agreeing to continue the manufacture of the non-XR version for 60 days. Bottom Line. In agreeing to the settlement, lawyers for Actavis rightfully claimed that the litigation had caused the company to change its “marketing strategy.” I find this interesting, and somewhat disconcerting, since there was never a claim that any law was being violated. A harbinger of things to come? 

Med-Tech Marketing Handbook

ebook Of all of the sources of information pertaining to marketing in our vertical, I typically find the products of MM&M to be among the most useful. And as with so many valuable sources of information in the digital age, the price ($0) is right.  Here’s an announcement about one of their newest offerings. Learn about the biggest companies in this space, the biggest areas and the best marketing approaches. I found the section on the pairing of Dx and Rx to be especially important. Bottom Line. If this component of the healthcare vertical speaks to you, download this ebook now.  Even if it doesn’t directly relate to your company, you will find that it provides valuable context for other areas of medical marketing.


mmm-logo_177537 Check out this recent Medical Marketing and Media article. Lots of good points!  In no particular order: A recent ePharma Summit “ground through” the usual list of topics, the article notes.  No kidding!  When will this repetitive nonsense stop?

An end of day panel, which the reporter apparently deemed the most poignant offering of the day, found two physicians underscoring the obvious, i.e., that most doctors do the majority of their prescribing in 2013 driven by formularies, rather than as the result of their own decision making. Sort of a shame that the hall was virtually empty by the time this point was made!

Relatedly, these docs described the much-vaunted replacement of hard copy detail aids by iPad-assisted presentations as being admittedly less   onerous.  BUT… Given the formulary restrictions discussed above, this sort of doesn’t matter.

Thus, the doctors on the panel recommended that pharmaceutical companies find a better way to become more relevant to physicians.

AND! A key executive from Pfizer responded that her organization understands that such fundamental changes are necessary, but is finding it difficult to get this awareness driven down to the brand level.

Bottom Line.  “Innovation” in pharmaceutical marketing is not about gadgetry.  It is about no longer pretending that individual physicians are evaluating products as they did in the good old days.

But that’s about what not to do.  The company that figures out what we should do instead will, to put it mildly, have a major strategic advantage!