Earlier this summer, I attended the MM&M Skill Sets Live event on “Engaging Patients.” The sessions that day provided thought-provoking information and discussion regarding opportunities for pharma brands/companies to engage with the patients using their medications.
Of particular interest was a presentation by Tony Romito from Accenture, who provided some challenging implications for pharma brands. The presentation, based on a survey among 2000 patients taking medications, addressed patient expectations of pharma companies. The survey showed that patients expect to have a service relationship with the companies providing their medications, and that these expectations go well beyond help with co-pays. The following are some key findings from the survey:
- Responsibility – 76% of patients believe pharma companies have a responsibility to provide services in both the short term and long term
- Willingness to Interact – 64% of patients are willing to provide personal information for services. This number goes to 74% when starting a new medication
- Value – Patients value services when they can get them. Valued services included product information (80%), financial assistance (64%), reward programs (60%), physician referrals (55%), and nurse support via phone (45%).
So what are the implications of what today’s patients expect from their brands?
- Patients service expectations for pharma brands are being influenced by their non-pharma brand experiences
- Patients are being forced to “manage” their health in a complex, confusing environment. They are expecting—waiting for—the makers of their medicines to help them with their health
- Pharma brands can’t meet patient expectations while keeping patients themselves at arm’s length
- Market leaders will be the brands who combine innovative medicines with high-value innovative services that go well beyond co-pay assistance
When considering patient strategy and programs, brands need to open their thinking to include the potential upside of pairing valued services with their medications. Certain categories and brands have already made progress in this area; however, patient expectations are making a value-focused approach a significant opportunity for a broad range of medications.