Capitalism and pharmaceutical companies often make awkward bedfellows. The healthiest people may not need medicine. People who aren’t healthy can take medicine to improve their health, but pharmaceutical prices can be a political minefield.
There are a multitude of reasons why pharma companies are a critical part of a healthcare ecosystem that strives to improve health outcomes in a cost-effective manner. A recent trend has been toward outcome-based reimbursements, in which insurance companies are starting to stipulate a reimbursement only if the outcome of a drug regimen is a good one for the patient.
As a result, Cardinal Health reports: “Pharma companies are increasingly focused on ensuring that patients not only get access to therapy but also take the right steps during the treatment journey to facilitate optimal outcomes.”
So let’s look at a few ways in which pharma companies can help ensure positive health outcomes — specifically with cardiovascular conditions — while still maintaining a robust bottom line.
“Pharma companies are increasingly focused on ensuring that patients not only get access to therapy but also take the right steps during the treatment journey to facilitate optimal outcomes.”
Medicine is not only a weapon against illness, infirmity and disease. It can also be a powerful preventer of problems, and that’s good news for pharma. One of the most exciting developments in heart health in recent years is research recently unveiled in Barcelona by drugmaker Novartis that shows promise in reducing heart disease by taking a preventative pill four times a year.
“It’s a remarkable scientific success that validates that treating inflammation will treat atherosclerosis,” says Sekar Kathiresan, director of the Center for Genomic Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.
It remains to be seen whether this medicine will turn out to be what early indicators show, but it’s at least an illustration of the possibilities of prevention. If pharma can invest in prevention, that will provide a whole new class of drugs to promote wellness.
Leverage Social Media
Although there are stringent regulations in place governing media and pharma, there is still room for drugmakers to join the conversation in judicious, yet informative ways. Leveraging social media can also help to combat all the misinformation out there.
“The absence of pharma brands on social media creates a significant void of reputable healthcare information to aid patients,” according to one industry insider.
By becoming part of the social media fabric, you’ll create a jumping off point for patients to explore other potential engagement with your company. For example, you could start a heart-healthy channel on YouTube with cardiovascular-friendly cooking demonstrations and healthy living suggestions.You’ll rack up the views and the goodwill so when someone needs a heart medicine someday, they’ll come to you.
This may seem like a lurch from pharma’s lab-centered mission of developing new drugs, but marketing and research go hand-in-hand. Making your brand one that patients are comfortable with and a place they go to when they are well increases the likelihood they will reach for you when they are sick.
And in the meantime, you can improve overall heart health in the communities you serve. Start a healthy living podcast with guests and tips. As a drugmaker, you have the platform, the clout and the bully pulpit to make a difference.
Invest In Technology
The emergence of big data, as well as advancements in data science approaches and technology, is providing pharmaceutical companies with an opportunity to gain novel insights that can enhance and accelerate drug development.
A digital patient engagement platform like PatientBond can be part of that ecosystem, providing pharma with insights and data that can help all parties achieve their goals.
Consider, for example, the issue of medication adherence. For optimal outcome, you need at least an 80 percent adherence rate. But rates are closer to 50 percent, which means poorer outcomes for patients and half the potential profits left behind. Improving medication adherence can be a big win for pharma and patients.
PatientBond’s proprietary platform can help maximize patient engagement through personalized, digital communications. This robust engagement, developed with a cutting-edge, psychographic segmentation model, will boost medication adherence, because all messaging is designed to resonate with a healthcare consumer’s personal, intrinsic motivations. This will help both the patient’s health and your company’s financial health.
- Differentiate your brands among consumers by linking your brand proposition to their unique, segment-specific motivations.
- Increase the likelihood that consumers will take action via your marketing messages.
- By developing a strong digital partnership with the patient, you can not only increase their medication adherence but you can be a true partner on their health journey. That means potentially spotting and preventing other health problems that may crop up which, again, is good for your company and, most importantly, good for the patient.
Pharmaceutical companies can also take advantage of a suite of customizable products developed to improve cardiovascular health that was developed by the American Heart Association and PatientBond.
Patients opt in to participate and then complete short assessments that allow the platform to tailor educational content according to their health status and personal motivations via psychographic segmentation. The offerings include a health enhancement program, a condition management program and a readmissions reduction program.
Pharmaceutical companies can take a leadership role in health outcomes improvement, both with their products and the services wrapped around their medications for a total package. Pharmaceutical companies are also typically more consumer-oriented than other healthcare organizations, investing in market research and, in many instances, Direct To Consumer campaigns. Being in front of consumerism allows pharmaceutical companies to anticipate healthcare consumer needs and approach cardiovascular disease (and other health conditions) through a consumer lens.