Sunday, April 26, 2009

Brand mountains

I GOT THE ABOVE IMAGE FROM HERE. It is an aerial view of the famous Himalayan mountains. The above aerial image represents the 'brandscape' too. Brands own 'product positioning mountains' in the minds of prospects/consumers/prescribers. This intangible aspect of positioning is the most powerful influencer of sales.

Long long ago when I read a book on product positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout, one message that I derived: when brands are positioned they own a 'mountain' in the mind of the consumer. For instance, when we hear the brand name: Kingfisher - good times, premium beer, and luxury airline are some of the associations that spring in one's mind. This is the 'mountain' owned by Kingfisher. Every brand is said to own a 'mountain related to the positioning, experiences, and associations' in the mind of prospect or consumer. This is the brand's identity.

Brand marketers should be savvy enough to understand these delicate 'brand positioning mountain aspects' and accordingly make the strategies to increase the sales and 'grow the mountain'.

When a marketer pioneers a brand concept he creates a 'NEW mountain in the mind of the prospect or customer':

The word Himalaya stands for herbal healthcare products or Ayurvedic brands. Juggat Pharma pioneered the brand concept of electrolyte energy drink in aseptic technology, and created this 'mountain' in the mind of prospects/prescribers. Mankind is a large 'retailer-push friendly', and also an aggressive company in the doctors' chambers. Cipla is a methodical marketer with a world-class product range in almost every generic brand market. Sun Pharma is a sophisticated premium specialty pharma company. Biocon is THE biopharmaceutical company in India. Pfizer is a very aggressive and cerebral marketer. GSK is a large and 'intensive fieldwork' based company. And so on and on ... go the corporate and product brand positioning reflections. Every company owns a 'positioning mountain'. This 'positioning mountain' is INTANGIBLE yet the most powerful influencer of prescription generation and sales of pharma brands (or for that matter nonpharma brands too).

The latest brand to astonish pharma marketers is Zifi (Cefixime) range from FDC. This is an anti-infective which has grown to Rs. 100 crores plus MAT (moving annual total) value in just 8 years. In the recent past, another hematinic brand C-pink from Wanbury had created waves as being a fast growth brand. In Indian pharma marketing lore another evergreen legendary brand is the fifth largest pharma brand - Ayurvedic Liv 52:
in Dec 1991 (MAT), it was a Rs. 17.20 crores sales brand; in Dec 1992 (MAT), it was a Rs. 19.78 crores sales brand; in Dec 1995 (MAT) it was a Rs. 31.50 crores sales brand; in Dec 1998 (MAT), it touched Rs. 42.72 crores sales; in Dec 2000 (MAT), it touched Rs. 56.30 crores sales; in Dec 2005 (MAT), it touched Rs. 75.17 crores sales; and in Dec 2008 the sales (MAT) increased to Rs. 118 crores. This brand seemingly will keep growing. However, what is most befuddling is the fact that it is a time honored tradition for Corex (Pfizer) to have the first place in the Indian pharma market - always! Corex is a codeine phosphate based cough suppressant. Considering this fact, it appears in India, dry cough is the most common ailment!! However, other surveys state that infections, and osteoporosis/osteoarthrtis are the most common ailments. Respiratory infections almost always cause wet cough - where, expectorants are used, so why is Corex the #1 pharma brand in India? What is the brand mountain that Corex so firmly holds? Can we have the answer to this question, please??!! It is said, more than 90% of Corex is sold over-the-counter, without any prescription.

Sales figures ya Brand mountains?

Month-end after month-end marketers make trade-offs between sales target achievement and growing the 'brand mountain'. Metacin was a fond paracetamol brand of many prescribers. However, the first paracetamol brand to go in to direct-to-consumer advertising in India, was not Crocin (actually the large leader paracetamol brand), but Metacin. This brand paid for it by the unforgiving market. Prescribers yelled at the medical representatives marketing Metacin. The prescriber's brand had gone away from them. The brand's positioning mountain was affected. Later when Crocin went in to direct-to-consumer advertising, the medical representatives did not face any flak - because Crocin was really very popular over-the-counter. Prescribers did not feel any ire at the brand marketing strategy of Crocin. Thus, growing the brand mountain is a tricky and tactful marketing task.

Line extensions

Many brand marketing pundits like Laura Ries are in principle against line extensions, particularly the phenomenon of very large nos. of line extensions that lead the brand in to a line extension trap. The multitude of line extension brands are said to obfuscate the basic brand identity. And this shakes the customer base. Hence, Ries advocates that brand line extensions are best avoided.

However, for day-to-day marketers, line extensions do serve important purposes. They help in boosting short term sales. Line extensions also create the buzz for the mother brand. And if the promotional mix is handled independently for every line extension sub-brand, then line extensions will do help a lot. It takes a lot of time, effort, resources, and energy to establish a brand. Line extensions help milk the mother brand. In pharma marketing, getting brand prescribing habits is very tough. To instil a pen-habit of a me-too brand is very tough. In this case, brand line extensions are much easier to get in to the doctor's pen habit, line extensions aid brand recall.

Ultimately, product portfolio managers are engaged in 'BRANDSCAPING' (like landscaping). It is a very hard and tactful task to maintain a good brandscape. Brands are very important as they are the covenants of trust. They are the identity of a company, and they get in the moolah from the market to company. In movies, the actors are the stars (moviestars). Similarly, in pharma marketing, the brands are the real stars (brandstars).


BRAND MOUNTAIN = The product positioning mountain (and experiences & associations) held by a brand in the mind of a consumer. When you think of color, think of us (Jenson and Nicholson). Think pranayama-Yoga, Think Swami Ramdev!! Think of a safe top selling anti-inflammatory (particularly to reduce swelling, and pain) formulation - THINK VOVERAN! Think of a top selling multivitamin brand - THINK BECOSULES. Think omeprazole - THINK OMEZ!

The brand preposition and positioning should be sharp (like a peak rather than a large mountain) - such a brand will have good recall and will endure in the market. This is how Al Ries, Laura Ries, and Jack Trout would opine too - I guess!!

Thanks for reading these reflections on brand positioning, and the brand mountains. Please do scroll down and read all other posts, click on OLDER POSTS wherever required, please inform your acquaintances of this blog URL if it will be interesting to them.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pharma product promotion checklist

I got the above image from here.

Marketing revolves around the 4 Ps - Product, Price, Promotion, and Placement (or distribution) to increase the consumption of brands. The important factor in promotion is the AIDA process ie., Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. It is the marketer's goal to take the prospect through the AIDA process to finally produce the action of adoption of the product. Pharmaceutical product and healthcare promotion operates slightly differently, at three levels - at the PRESCRIBER level, CHEMIST level, and PATIENT level.

Many professionals use a checklist method while performing tasks. I too prefer this system - even if there is no physical checklist surely there is a mental checklist to perform tasks. Making a checklist indicates that a person is thoughtfully and purposefully going about the activity. To prepare a checklist, one needs to have knowledge, imagination (of future events, and hence the necessities for the same), application, experience, and methodical thinking. Making a checklist involves breaking the task in to several subtasks, so it involves going to the minutae - a checklist helps avoid loose ends. In fact, a checklist centered functioning gets ingrained early in the pharma marketer's life. As a MR, he begins his day, by preparing a checklist of doctors and chemists to be met, along with the promo inputs to each doctor/chemist. The call list for the day is prepared in sequence of the timing of making the visit. So by the time, a pharma salesman has put in two or three years, the checklist habit becomes very deep rooted.

Making a check list also requires one to be flexible. This is because checklists are appended or otherwise modified to take care of various alterations in the situation. My funny experience with checklists used to be during my joint field working days (in Bellary dist., along with Mr. Anand, my MR there). We used to go to the Bellary bus-stand with all planning as per the checklist to work in some pre-decided interior place. However, we would end up going to some other interior depending on the bus available or the rush in buses!! So in Bellary we used to have the most flexi checklist - to adjust to the chaotic situation! So all in all, checklists are a great roadmap but one needs to be very adaptable to ensure all sudden opportunities and situations are accomodated.

Here is a pharma product promotional checklist:

A) At the prescriber level: Influencing the prescriber behavior is the fulcrum of pharma product business. It is done through several approaches inside the clinic, at conferences (through stalls), and other media (like mailers, internet websites, journals, etc).

A1) Visual aid: this tool is still the most important device to help in detailing about the product to the doctor. (Besides visual aid detailing, one has to indulge in extempore detailing (say by holding a sample of the product), and dialogue detailing (with Yes Momentum)).
A2) Literatures and brand recall inputs (like stickers, standies, NEWSLETTERS, danglers etc) of various sizes, shapes, and colors (pertaining to the product) need to be prepared for detailing and left behind with the doctor - these act as silent salesmen, providing clinical pearls, updates, product benefits, and other interesting points. Even if the doctor sees it for a few moments, and then puts it aside or disposes off with it - during the time he sees the literature/INPUT, the doctor is engaged with the brand, and this will help in brand prescriptions, through brand recall (in time to come, there is no doubt that aspects related to NEUROMARKETING will be used to prepare such promotional aids to ensure better returns in terms of prescriptions).
A3) Small gifts are very important for relationship management and prescription generation. It is not that the doctor is dying to get a good complimentary pen from the pharma marketer - the act of giving a thoughtful gift is what waters the relationship. Small gifts also act as communication tools providing brand recall stimulus, and they help buy time to engage the doctor for some more time. Small gifts may be print or nonprint items.
A4) Large gifts/sponsorships also play a key role, however, controversial they may be in term of ethics of marketing. The best way to provide large gifts and sponsorships is to tie them with some educational programs (either CMEs or medical conferences or meets or patient education programs), to make it appear as ethical marketing eg., have a half day CME for doctors in a cruiseliner for 5 days (with family) during vacation time!
A5) CME materials are provided by pharma marketers to strengthen evidence based prescribing. It is a very useful input to influence prescriber behavior, provided target doctor selection is appropriate.
A6) Gift and special schemes to dispensing doctors will certainly influence consumption of products.
A7) Key opinion builder doctors play a role in engineering prescribing habits in the doctor's sphere of influence. For instance if a Prof. has a particular affinity to a drug or brand, it will carry down to his students, and junior colleagues. Hence, identifying, building relationships, and managing the needs of Key Opinion Builder doctors is important. Such key doctors are given cash and kind for their inputs.
A8) Sponsoring small meetings (say with high tea) is vital to help influence prescriber habits.
A9) Ads in journals are very important to provide the brand prescribing stimulus.
A10) Relationship management approaches based on the doctor's profile like birthday gifts/bouquets, clinic anniversary day, cake parties etc help in winning the doctor over.
A11) Partnering doctors in their disease management programs like sponsoring costs of pulse polio program, osteoporosis detection camps, free medical camps, etc will help in building patient flows, and strengthening doctor-pharma marketer relations.
A12) Modern approaches to influence prescriber behavior is engaging prescribers through websites, sms, e-mail, and call centers - thus, to gain access to the doctor's mind.
A13) Samples are extremely important inputs that help in influencing prescriber behavior. Samples are given as free gifts to patients or used for charging premium fees from patients, so they assume very high importance.

B) At the chemist level: In India, the chemist plays a very important role to provide the retail shelf space, and ensure that the patient's prescription or oral purchase request by the patient is honored. Many a times, a chemist has financial understanding with nearby doctors and this gives the chemist some liberty to substitute the prescribed brand.

B1) Schemes (free gifts, or free goods tied in with purchases) help gain the chemist's co-operation.
B2) Small gifts (such as books, order pads, pens etc) help in relationship management with key chemists.
B3) Chemist education materials is an interesting approach for certain products where a chemist can push the product. These materials are in the form of CDs, literatures, books and sometimes display certificates are given to the chemist (eg., This chemist has undergone a short course on first-aid, the education program and certificate is sponsored by an antiseptic ointment marketer).
B4) POP (point-of-purchase) materials: help in strengthening brand purchase habit of healthcare consumers. These materials include display stands, stickers, danglers etc.

C) At the patient level: Patient compliance and auto purchase behavior are very vital for pharma product success. To improve compliance and auto purchase decisions by patients the approaches used are:

C1) Technical intervention: making it easier to consume the product, like calendar packs, Alu-Alu packs to make the dosage formulation attractive, improving taste, presentation, and other organoleptic qualities of the product. It is not only the safety, efficacy, purity, supply, clinical data, and affordability of the product that increases consumption, PATIENT SATISFACTION is critical.
C2) Educational intervention is providing relevant educational materials (like patient information leaflets) regarding the disease and drug to ensure patient compliance.
C3) Behavioral intervention is providing inputs that strengthen patient compliance or auto purchase behavior eg., sms reminders on dose, discount offers for repeat purchases etc.
C4) Social interventions is forming product user clubs etc that help create a community of product users. These are very useful in strengthening the patient compliance and auto purchase.
C5) Structural interventions like specially trained nurses, or patient counsellors who ensure compliance.

It is essential to create the buzz constantly, and strengthen the word-of-mouth (between patients, and between doctors) to ensure sustained success. BIG PHARMA BRANDS HAVE GROWN ONLY THROUGH WORKING AT ALL THESE THREE LEVELS. For eg., let us see an evergreen brand. (AN EVERGREEN BRAND IS ONE THAT HAS A LONG PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE UNLIKE MANY ANTIBIOTICS ETC.). Herbal preparations, and multivitamin brands like Becosules, are evergreen brands. Liv 52 is a very successful evergreen brand: in Dec 1991 (MAT), it was a Rs. 17.20 crores sales brand; in Dec 1992 (MAT), it was a Rs. 19.78 crores sales brand; in Dec 1995 (MAT) it was a Rs. 31.50 crores sales brand; in Dec 1998 (MAT), it touched Rs. 42.72 crores sales; in Dec 2000 (MAT), it touched Rs. 56.30 crores sales; in Dec 2005 (MAT), it touched Rs. 75.17 crores sales; and in Dec 2008 the sales (MAT) increased to Rs. 118 crores. This brand seemingly will keep growing.

Zifi (from FDC) recently created history in the Rs. 34118 crores Indian Pharma Market (Dec 2008 MAT) by reaching Rs. 115 crores annual sales in about 8 years.

I -Pill from Cipla is a top new introduction with Rs. 22 crores MAT sales (Dec 2008).

The moral of the story is that to succeed in the marketplace checklists like the above product promotional checklist helps as a roadmap.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Three Ps of Indian Innovation

I got the above image from here. I got the above (top) image of Dr. Salim Yusuf ( a dedicated medical researcher who was involved in the telmisartan Transcend study and is involved in the polypill concept) from here. Dr. Salim Yusuf is of Indian origin who has done his MD from Bangalore.

Who says India does not innovate?! If you want to know the level of innovation in any country - I have a suggestion: check the cuisine or textiles or dressing styles. If it is not variety rich ... well, you know what!

India has a diverse, popular, and variety rich cuisine. And check out the wide variety of traditional Indian textiles too. You will agree, innovation has been a part of India's rich culture. Oh! Yes!! in recent centuries, innovation has been sluggish, however, there is a new empowered generation, an entire set of people with high level of self-esteem, and they are driving innovation with resilience.

To be innovative one requires marketing sense, communication finesse, courage, and the drive. The mindset of the new generation is rich in these values, hence, the offshoot is innovation.

Innovation makes strong business sense. Innovation provides the first-mover advantage in to markets to boost revenues, innovations provide sustainable competitive advantages to firms, thus, innovation is indispensable for survival and growth.

The first P of innovation: Polypill and Polycap (the Indian connection)

India has a very interesting culture of syncresis. There are hundreds of cultural strands in India. There is a lot of diversity in all dimensions of life - food, languages, faiths, denominations, rituals, etc. It is indeed mindboggling to visualize the diversity in India. Hence, it is a sort of cultural thing to mix a lot of good things to make some thing better. Popular chaat food dishes like bhel puri, masala puri etc are mixes of diverse things. Walk in to any vegetarian darshini restaurant at Bangalore- you can order North Indian, South Indian, Chinese and other dishes. So syncresis and the instinct to combine good things in to one is seen in various activities - cooking, dressing styles, and ... yes in pharmaceuticals and therapies too.

In India you can access homeopathy, traditional Tibetan healing, Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, Varmakalai (a sort of accupressure), medical tourism, allopathy, Yoga, and many other native forms. However, what has lacked these innovations is scientific temper, documentation, and other modern approaches. Today, many individuals are pouring in scientific efforts to justify the claims of traditional therapies.

The cultural instinct to mix good things together, has led to various fixed dose and combination formulations. Many have been dismissed as irrational as they have lacked scientific clinical back up. However, the concept of polypill is different. Dr. Salim Yusuf wrote about the concept of polypill to manage cardiovascular disease first in an editorial in the Lancet (2002). Wald and Law used analytic techniques to justify a polypill concept in another article in the BMJ (2003). May be, it appealed culturally to Indian pharma marketers, and Cadila Pharmaceuticals involved itself to clinically study the concept further - this initiative is called POLYCAP (a five in one formulation). The study making waves internationally is called the Indian Polycap Study (TIPS).

The ramifications of the Polycap project are many. It will redefine the consumption of antihypertensives, statins, and change the market consumption patterns of well established single ingredient formulations from Pfizer, Merck etc. It has the potential to disrupt the market to create a new trend. BUT WHY? THE ANSWER IS HERE:

One of the main challenges in chronic disease management is PATIENT COMPLIANCE OR PATIENT ADHERENCE.

Getting patients to pop in several tablets or capsules is a major challenge. Further, patients on such medications are always on the lookout for more convenient ways to manage the disease, reduce frequency and quantity of medications, without compromising on health outcomes.

The most important of the standard approaches to manage patient compliance is (please click here for a very very good article and to see more details on this concept):

Technical intervention: this is an important approach to improve compliance. It has one of the highest ratings to increase patient adherence to the dosage regimen. The POLYCAP concept is a technical intervention approach to improve PATIENT ADHERENCE (and health benefits) through improved convenience, with probably reduced cost. Hence, the POLYCAP concept has the potential to get huge medical and patient acceptance. There will be better patient adherence to the POLYCAP concept.

The other approaches to improve patient adherence are behavioral interventions (modification), social support interventions, structural interventions and educational interventions.

Hence, with some good marketing, the polypill concept will prove to be a winning horse.

The second P of innovation: Pranayama - Yoga concept from Baba Ramdev

Yogi Ramdev Baba - the health messiah - is creating a global lifestyle revolution by encouraging pranayama-yoga. The best thing about his approach that is heralding success, is the scientific investigations and documentation. This is redefining the way people see pranayama. Hence, the second P of Indian innovation will certainly do wonders globally.

The third P of innovation: Polydrink (the electrolyte energy drink concept)

The concept of electrolyte energy drink with aseptic technology processing and packing, for the management of mild to moderate dehydration and fatigue, has succeeded admirably. One of the significant reasons for market success is the excellent compliance for this product (technical intervention). Compliance is a key reason for the success of products. Patient compliance provides positive feedback from patients to prescribers, this reinforces prescriber behavior. Furthermore, it improves auto OTC (over-the-counter) purchases.

Indians have traditionally been very innovative producing 'poly' formulations (poly with respect to many ingredients or many uses, as in polydrink). Ayurvedic formulations are primarily poly in nature with respect to uses and composition. Furthermore, with many new biotech and stem cell research companies doing innovative work in pharmaceuticals and healthcare, in India, it is possible we are entering a new era of innovation in pharmaceuticals and healthcare.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

For better in-clinic experiences

I got the above nice photo from here. The photographer Jeff specializes in physician and medical photos (and other photos) - indeed, a very interesting business model. Obviously, his business model is facilitated by the internet. Many professionals have improved their prospects thanks to the world wide web.

When pharma marketers devise strategies and sales personnel implement strategies and tactics for better prescription generation, and improved sales - the main focus is on constantly improving MR - doctor transactions.

How about a new approach - thinking about improving the in-clinic experiences between patient and doctor?
This is an interesting approach as it is customer-centric. If pharma companies and product promoters focus on enhancing the doctor's in-clinic experiences with patients the relevance of the pharma product or medical device promoter will increase.

The name of the game is RELEVANCE

In the marketing and selling profession, the word RELEVANCE is an important factor. This is particularly so when world-over, doctors are feeling that pharmaceutical selling professionals have less relevance compared to the pre-internet and earlier days. Pharmaceutical selling is based on close and personalized relationships with physicians. This helps push the drug and raise sales. Hence, improving relevance of pharma marketing and sales personnel inside clinics is vital. One approach is when pharma companies become facilitators of better in-clinic experiences between physician and patient.

Approaches to improve the relevance of the pharma marketer/sales person

Dr. as a teacher: The word doctor (Dr.) has its roots in a Latin word that means teacher. The title Dr. in society generally means a person who is learned, and has the potential to be a guide to others in society. As such, today, there is a fund of information on the internet. This has indeed increased the general healthcare literacy. Nevertheless, there is a need for clarifying all the information in to something that is easily assimilated by healthcare consumers and is actionable. This is where the doctor and pharma companies can collaborate for mutual benefits. Pharma companies can create platforms for interactions between patients and doctors/healthcare professionals to understand disease management better. For instance, pharma companies can sponsor fortnightly talks (with high tea) by doctors to their patients on generic health subjects like worm infestation or dehydration, and subtle promotion of products can also be done. Here the doctor educates his patients on health issues. DOCTOR AS A TEACHER!

Software aided prescribing: Pharma companies can play a vital role in bringing sophisticated concepts to help improve prescribing practice on the lines of evidence based prescribing, to make the doctor and patient interactions more efficient and effective in terms of patient outcomes. This will help the pharma companies with improved business results too, and doctors' with improved patient satisfaction.

The imaginary software based concept is given below:

Let us say Cipla the largest pharma company in the retail Indian pharma market
(& some partner companies for this software project) provide a particular software package (as described below) to a prescriber. The uniqueness of this software package is that it provides help only when the doctor prescribes at least one Cipla/partner company brand (since the software package is gifted by Cipla/partner companies):

Imagine the following clinical situation -

a) A patient is diagnosed as having worm infestation
b) The doctor types Bendex in the window
c) Immediately the software becomes active and other windows pop up
d) These new windows provide various inputs that are relevant to the doctor with reference to Bendex
e) One window provides pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, drug interactions, ADRs and dosage guidelines including for specific indications like neurocysticercosis, cystic hydatid disease, and strongyloidiasis (for which Bendex can be prescribed)
f) Another window informs the doctor regarding aspects like possible micronutrient deficiencies related to this brand or patient condition, for eg., worm infestations often cause anemia. The window can auto suggest to check if the patient is looking slightly pale. Hence, the window reminds this fact to the doctor, and autosuggests a Cipla brand of haematinic. If the doctor feels this is a useful suggestion, he or she will click on this haematinic brand and it gets included in the Rx (prescription) (which is a window on the screen)
g) Another window in the meantime automatically links up with the Bendex product website on the internet and provides latest clinical data and other research reports, thus strengthening evidence based prescribing.
h) Assume that this is a software package provided by a consortium of big and small companies.

Now, a window on the screen suggests that mild dehydration and lassitude is common in patients with helminthiasis (or worm infestation) and a pop-up window shows a picture of a leading brand of electrolyte energy drink - with its profile.

The doctor can click on the product photo and the brand gets included in the Rx being generated on the computer screen.

Thus, what the desktop software package is doing is that it is encouraging the doctor to consider all aspects of the patient's condition, and prompting various useful brand options that can be prescribed to the patient.

Often a worm infestation patient suffers from gastrointestinal distress, hence, brand suggestions (in the pop-up windows) on prebiotic/probiotic brands, and proton pump inhibitors can be considered for the above patient of helminthiasis. Finally, the doctor can click on a pop-up window to print patient information leaflet - SIGN ON IT - and give it to the patient along with the printed Rx (which bears his sign).

Will the doctor like such a software? Initially, there will be a brouhaha on the commercial nature (the obvious benefits to pharma marketers) of this IT application, subsequently it will die down, and the adoption will only go northwards, because of its utility. The basic funda in marketing is that anything that increases CONVENIENCE will sell - the beneficiaries will be ready to pay any justifiable price to it. Particularly in semiurban and rural areas, doctors have little time and resources to update themselves on various clinical matters, this software will help in more efficient delivery of patient care.

The above software aided prescribing can include features like: type in symptoms and get a range of possible indications, get auto suggestions on confirmatory lab tests that can be performed, web site urls that will be helpful to get further information related to the diagnosis and prescription ... THE FACT THAT THE SOFTWARE GETS 'ON' ONLY WHEN A CIPLA/PARTNER COMPANY BRAND IS PRESCRIBED ENSURES THAT AT LEAST ONE SPONSOR COMPANY BRAND IS DEFINITELY THERE IN THE Rx.

A boon for pharma marketers Such a software aided prescribing system will help increase brand recall, brand prescribing, and more IMPORTANTLY will help provide market statistical data to pharma marketers (can be uploaded from the software) for eg., which are the common indications for a brand, how many Rx have been generated and so on...

Product or service or idea success - depends on the vacuum it fills

When ranitidine was introduced, it was safer and more effective than cimetidine, ie., it filled in the market gap or vacuum for such a drug, and ranitidine experienced success.

When Liv 52 was launched, clinical data driven Ayurvedic products were not there, and there were no Allopathic formulations to fill this market gap (of liver disease management). Furthermore, Liv 52 was backed with savvy gift oriented marketing, and the result is that it is one of the topmost pharma evergreen growing brands of India. The electrolyte energy drinks category too fits in a market gap for a tasty formulation that delights patients during the management of mild dehydration and lack of energy.

Omeprazole is far more effective than ranitidine, and today omeprazole is a leader generic worldwide, in the management of GERD and acid peptic disease.

Mankind, a relatively new pharma company, has gone on to become a leader company because it recognized the powers of low pricing, and tapping the pharma retailer power.  Today for select brands like Unwanted 72 it is also focusing on the DTC approach.


This is what the biotech companies have done. They have created products like filgrastim (granulocyte stimulating factor) which helps improve neutropenia (which was not possible earlier), erythropoietin is another invention to help anemia in kidney failure patients. Hence, today many people are investing on biogenerics (Merck is going one step ahead - they want to launch a slew of BIO BETTERS!)

Software aided approach for improved in-clinic activity (between doctor and patient) is a futuristic marketing model. We are slowly entering in to an era of SEGMENTED MEDICINE AND PERSONALIZED MEDICINE.

In segmented medicine, drugs are given to certain patients who share a certain genetic commonality. For eg., herceptin is a breast cancer drug, that is given to patients with HER 2 oncogene. This is a case of segmented medicine.

In personalized medicine too drugs are prescribed based on the genetic make-up.

For practice of hi-tech medicine based on segmented medicine and personalized medicine, software aided prescribing is the first step.

For eg., if a patient with breast cancer presents to the doctor, the doctor may begin with typing Cipla's brand of anastrazole - auto suggestions for HER genetic testing etc can be given through the pop-up windows. And the doctor can be helped to practice segmented medicine through the software aided prescribing process (while boosting sales of segmented medicine brands). All this ultimately improve in-clinic doctor and patient experiences that will boost brand sales too.

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