In the mainstream media today, depression has become a very common word. The global financial woes are collectively called 'economic recession' and/or 'economic depression'.Along with economic depression, the antidepressant drug market - particularly in the developed countries - is growing steadily. The hot hot market in the global pharma sector is depression. Period. Every one wants a quick fix solution, nothing like popping a pill to fight away the blues, feel high, and love oneself dearly. Diabetes carries along with it depression. And it is popularly known now,
As per IMS Health, in 2006, the maximum prescriptions dispensed in USA was for antidepressants. This was followed by lipid regulators, codeine and combinations, ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, proton pump inhibitors, thyroid hormones, seizure disorders, calcium channel blockers, and then benozodiazepines. It is important to note here that benzodiazepines are used in a broad range of psychosomatic disorders - from anxiety to convulsions. Hence, there is an overlap between antidepressant market and benzodiazepines market. WELL THAT IS THE STORY AS PER THE MAXIMUM PRESCRIPTIONS DISPENSED IN USA.
HOWEVER, GLOBALLY THE SALES PATTERNS ARE DIFFERENT, THE LIPID REGULATORS THERAPY CLASS IS THE NO. 1 IN SALES , AND VALUE WISE, ANTI-PSYCHOTICS, AND ANTI-DEPRESSANTS HAVE A POSITION OF NO. 6 AND NO.7 RESPECTIVELY. PLEASE CLICK HERE.
NOW THE MOOT POINT IS, AS THE INDIAN PHARMA MARKET EVOLVES, WILL THE ANTIDEPRESSANT MARKET EVOLVE BETTER TO BECOME A HIGH VALUE MARKET IN INDIA? IT IS DIFFICULT TO SAY, BECAUSE OF YOGA AND OTHER ALTERNATIVE HEALING SYSTEMS IN INDIA. (THIS REPORT IN INDIA TODAY SAYS THAT DIAGNOSIS AND LACK OF TREATMENT FACILITIES PLAGUE THE INDIAN DEPRESSION MANAGEMENT MARKET).
The China experience
'Removal of the stigma' and 'improving diagnosis' for market expansion
The most important aspect for marketers of anti-depressant brands is to get the market to expand through increase of the user base. How can it be done? The challenge is two pronged - one, remove the stigma attached and, two, improve the diagnosis of the ailment.
For the removal of the stigma: attached to depression, the best marketing communication approach would be to put the focus on 'IMPROVING THE PERFORMANCE AND SOCIAL LIFE' of a patient. Instead of using the word: depression, using phrases that have a positive presentation will help the cause of antidepressant and mood elevator marketers. For instance, talk about the ability of a drug (herbal or allopathic formulation) to improve social interactions, overcome stage fright, shyness, improve inter-personal relationships and communication, ability to create confidence for better negotiation, and thereby avoid adverse circumstances. Just do not talk depression, but communicate about the benefits of drug therapy for a better attitude. As such it would be an interesting marketing communication experiment to position antidepressant and mood elevator drugs as those that help create positive attitude. When the presentation is positive, the appeal will be positive.
Take the interesting case of alcohol beverage marketing: pharmacologically speaking alcohol is an addictive primary continuous depressant. But it is ironic that all ads and communication for alcohol show it as a fun drink - one that elevates mood, and is associated with celebration. Whereas the imagery for antidepressants that truly elevate mood and help manage attitude better - is that of stigma, morbidity, and sickness. THAT IS WHY MARKETING IS DESCRIBED BY AL RIES AND JACK TROUT AS A WAR OF PERCEPTIONS. Alcohol beverage marketers have ensured that the perception of the alcohol beverage brands is about positivity, fun, frolic, happiness, and being hep - whereas alcohol is actually about addiction and being a primary continuous depressant! Alcohol consumption causes inhibitions to be dropped, but that does not make it a stimulant! Alcohol only has a pretense of being a stimulant!! So the nub of the matter is that advertising, and marketing communication to physicians and patients (through patient information leaflets) should change the perception of antidepressant and mood elevator therapy class to be something positive, truly healing, and improving the attitude. That will go a long way in removal of the stigma attached to depression as a clinical disease.
Help the GP and other specialists to diagnose underlying depression. For instance, several diseases like diabetes and thyroid pathology, and stages of life like menopause are associated with mild to moderate depression. Thus, co-prescribing of antidepressants will go a long way in market expansion.
With China increasing its antidepressants market, and antidepressant prescriptions being the #1 dispensed segment in USA it remains to be seen whether the Indian antidepressant market will take off in the near future. The aspect that antidepressant prescriptions are #1 dispensed gives a clue - patients may be shy to take on to antidepressants, however, once they are on them, they do not seem to want to give up.
THANKS FOR READING THIS BLOGPOST, PLEASE SCROLL DOWN AND READ ALL OTHERS, CLICK ON OLDER POSTS WHEREVER REQUIRED.