Friday, December 7, 2007


The above is a nice image of a touchscreen from (CLICK HERE) and this device can herald a new era of pharma retailing and AFTER Rx SERVICE, do read on...

Digitalization is an unstoppable global juggernaut. The trend of digitalization is changing the way we communicate and conduct business. In fact, digitalization has transformed the way we live. In the field of pharma marketing and healthcare, digitalization is leaving a global footprint and has the potential to revolutionize healthcare CRM through an exciting concept (that I call) AFTER Rx SERVICE. Please read on…


The current orientation of pharma marketers is to focus on prescription generation and encashment in favor of marketed brands. Thus, physician engagement and availability at pharmacies, and ensuring encashment of prescriptions is the focus of sales and marketing efforts. However, the revolutionary trend of digitalization has the potential of creating yet another powerful touchpoint that can influence the consumption of products and services, and improve health outcomes.

After a prescription is generated for a brand – a connection is established between the company, the brand, doctor, pharmacist, and the patient. By capitalizing on the potential of digitalization, one can further strengthen the equation between company, brand, doctor, pharmacist, and patient for mutual benefits. Here is how, with a few illustrations:

Let us imagine a new person is diagnosed as a diabetic and is given a prescription for a brand of metformin. After purchasing a pack of the medication, the patient gets to read the pack insert, that informs him of the details of the medication, and encourages the patient to log on to the particular brand website. After logging on to the brand website, the patient is encouraged in the website to register himself. The brand website experience will inevitably be an empowering and encouraging experience, where the website will advice and inform the patient on diabetes management and lifestyle issues. Being a diverse manufacturer, the company will subtly inform the netizen about the availability of other CAM (complementary and alternative) products as supportive therapies for management of diabetes. The idea is to seed other relevant products in the receptive mind of the patient to help the patient manage the diabetic situation better. In fact, the accent can be on prevention of diabetic complications, for eg. an antioxidant product like Ocugold from Ajanta for better eye care. As the netizen reads about the complications of diabetes, he becomes aware of the dermopathies that a diabetic is susceptible to. Thus, his mind will be receptive to use of relevant creams as preventive care. Marketing preventive care is the challenge as there are a number of mental barriers for the adoption of preventive healthcare products. Notably, the reason is the inertia that is the thought that the product is not required by an individual as the sickness may not strike him. However, a person with sickness has a mind primed to reception of messages on preventive healthcare products (or services), particularly for the products related to complications like diabetic complications.

The website can also lead the netizen to a conversational blog site wherein the patient can have conversations on the use of medicines, awareness and management of side effects, using complementary and other products for health benefits, and use the blog site as a moral support system. Thus, through the effective use of internet based digital medium the company cements its relationship with the patient through an augmented AFTER Rx SERVICES system.

One can enhance this in the case of vaccinations too. The mother can learn about the effectiveness of various vaccines on her own and take informed decisions about administering right vaccinations in consultation with the doctor. And get dosage alerts on her mobile from the website.

What the AFTER Rx SERVICE does is to strengthen the bond between patient and company through empowering information and inspiration. The company also gets an opportunity to introduce its complementary and preventive healthcare products.

Let us assume, a person is affected with tonsillitis. And he is prescribed antibiotics. The patient can go to the brand website and learn about tonsillitis and get to know of various immunostimulants like Septilin, Guduchi (through a co-promotion effort) etc that strengthen the healing process and prevent recurrent tonsillitis.

Liver dysfunction is often a side effect of drugs like anti TB drugs, antibiotics, and occurs due to alcohol consumption. In fact, chronic constipation, liver disease, and piles are related diseases. Thus, a TB patient or piles patient can through hyperlinks from brand websites connect to CAM products like Liv 52 that will help him heal better and faster, in consultation with the doctor. For eg., Lupin has anti TB medications and hepatoprotectives. A patient with a prescription for rifampicin, when he logs on to the brand website, he will get to know of the hepatic side effects, and can learn of hepatoprotectives that will play a constructive role in his road to recovery. All this is possible due to the digitalization trend in society today.

Digitalization can also help provide personalized messages to patients and doctors through e-mail and sms, based on specific queries and needs. Digitalization also helps create company or brand sponsored digital communities. For eg., patients of anxiety neurosis can belong to a brand digital community that acts as a support system. The entry to the brand digital community will of course come through a prescription for the brand. For eg., if a person is prescribed Anxit the patient can gain an entry to the Anxit digital community. Any messages on the Anxit message board can also be sent by sms to the patient’s mobile as Anxit sms alert.

Thus, we see that digitalization based AFTER Rx SERVICE is a form of customer relationship management (CRM) activity. The objectives of the AFTER Rx SERVICE will be

Strengthening bond between brand, company, pharmacist, doctor, and patient
Ensuring dosage compliance (can be done through sms dosage alerts too)
Offering complementary and related products to the receptive mind of the patient (aids prospecting)
Empowering persons on healthcare knowledge and issues
Preventing complications
Retarding the progress of the disease
Better health outcomes and improvement of quality of life
Customer brand engagement - strengthens confidence and allays fears
Helps retain customers
Increase throughput from each customer
Helps strengthen word-of-mouth and builds new opinion builder systems for healthcare products and services
Generating trust and customer delight (feel good factor)

Digitalization based CRM - AFTER Rx SERVICE - at the level of the pharmacies

Touchscreen based interactive information systems have great potential for AFTER Rx SERVICE. This can help pharmacies increase revenues through sale of semi OTC and OTC products (that are related to the patient’s disease). Let us imagine a patient is treated for PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome), the patient is usually prescribed hormonal treatment, but PCOS women also suffer from acne (adult onset acne). Through the touchscreen device, the patient can learn more about PCOS including the acne problem. The touchscreen device can advise skin care products. In case, of pharmacy chains like Manipal Cure and Care that are now marketing Living Proof range of skin care products, the touchscreen device can help bolster sale of the skin care products.

Now imagine a lady patient suffering from osteoporosis & osteoarthritis (which according to a survey are the #1 ailments in India), with a prescription for raloxofene. Such a patient is usually of the menopausal age. Let us say she enters a Manipal Care and Cure center, after filling in the prescription, the community pharmacist invites the patient to learn about osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and menopause with the help of the interactive touchscreen information system. The patient then learns through the attractive graphics that menopause also causes hot flashes (which she experiences), crows feet and fine wrinkling. By pressing appropriate touchscreen buttons the patient learns about the various OTC soy products for management of hot flashes, and the derma range Living Proof that will help in management of fine wrinkling and crows feet.

Thus, the above patient gets the benefit of better associated products, and the per patient revenue is significantly increased for Manipal Care and Cure.

Similarly, patients suffering from malaria can be exposed to information about anti – mosquito creams that can be applied, by other family members.

AFTER Rx SERVICE goes beyond physician engagement thanks to the digital medium represented by the internet, mobile, and touch screen based systems (for use at pharmacies). Particularly, for pharma retailers, touchscreen interactive information systems have a huge potential for offering augmented AFTER Rx SERVICE, and these along with pharmacist based counseling, can simultaneously enhance revenues significantly. Digitalization enhances CRM through AFTER Rx SERVICE and aids targeted messaging. Digitalization based AFTER Rx SERVICE is a 24/7 preposition and can go beyond geographies. There is respect for privacy and personalization of the digital experience. AFTER Rx SERVICE can revolutionize healthcare, augment brand building, and boost revenues.

I thank you for reading the above post, please scroll down to read a nice love story of a medical representative, and scroll down further for other articles, please click on older posts for articles if required. Thank you.


Jake said...

My mother has osteoporosis. she takes Evista. She says that it so far it has helped her the most of any medication she's taken, and she's able to order it online.

Sunil S Chiplunkar said...

Wishing happy healthy days to your mother, let her try pranayama too.