Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Managing patient perceptions is vital for the commercial success of any drug or therapy today. It is not just the prescriber’s perception about a brand, drug or therapy that matters. The prescriber is very important, but in the age of the empowered patient, and a powerful media (both user created and traditional media), the patient’s perception too is vital and is crucial for the success of the marketing efforts of a drug or healthcare formulation. This is a new dimension in marketing management of pharmaceuticals and healthcare products.

How a Patient-Support Program Increased Therapy Participation 20%, Upped Sales

Tracleer won approval in 2001 as the first oral treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension, an illness difficult for patients to grasp. Tracleer helps patients control the symptoms, but it has drawbacks. Faced with high patient-dropout rates early on in treatment, the drug's maker needed to change patient perceptions



Managing patient perceptions and CRM with patients is a brand engagement strategy. This enlivens the brand, helps the target audience appreciate the brand attributes and benefits better, and hence makes a person use the brand better in his or her life.

Brand engagement and patient perception

Engagement, a broad term encompassing everything from sampling to product placement to personal service, is the process of forming an emotional or rational attachment to a brand by using it or viewing it in a personally relevant context.

Let us say, Liv 52 (a popular herbal for hepatic dysfunction) is used by the patient on advice of the doctor in cases of hepatic dysfunctioning like nausea or fatigue or outright jaundice. Brand engagement strategies through the doctor to the patient can enlighten the customer that constipation, anal discomfort, and piles too are manifestations of liver dysfunction, and in case a patient suffers such symptoms (at a later date or happens to know a person with such symptoms) the top-of-the-mind recall will be for Liv 52.

Brand engagement can be heightened through an online brand website that provides education and an enhanced experience to the netizen on hepatic dysfunctioning and role of Liv 52.

Brand engagement with patients, increases the perceived value of the product from the viewpoint of the patient. This also enhances the word-of-mouth phenomenon in the patient and medical community.

Similarly, brand engagement strategy is best suited for products in the OTX space, like Women’s Horlicks, Amway products (in 2008 Amway products in India will be promoted to 5000 doctors for recommendations), and Revital (from Ranbaxy) that is officially promoted through a rainbow coalition strategy.

After, fatigue, PAIN is a most common symptom in clinical practice. When the word pain is mentioned, more often than not, the top-of-the-mind recall goes to Crocin (paracetamol) and Moov (the topical joint pain reliever), in India. Brand engagement strategies through the doctor to the patient, can engage the patient on aspects of pain and how pain management products work, what pain tries telling to the body, and how patients can engage their relationships with the doctors to better their pain management strategy.

About brand engagement Mr. Nick says:

So teach your customers well. Remember that knowledge leads to action. Give them the gift of useful and relevant knowledge, and in return they will give you brand loyalty and word-of-mouth.

Overall, strengthening the Pharma product promotion to patients is vital given the current power of media that addresses health issues to patients and society directly, moreover, web 2.0 is redefining the conversations on health issues, and there is a distinct empowerment of patients on health issues. Hence, it is useful for marketers to address patient perception of drugs, therapies and healthcare products.

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