How many readers have had their product offering unfairly criticized in the media but let the issue slide because of the nagging feeling that arguing the toss with journalists – who always have the last word – would do more harm than good. It’s an understandable and tempting reaction…but it’s not always the correct response. Dealing with adverse media commentary on a case-by-case basis is cleverer than a hard and fast rule as a sweet little PR hit by Ryanair recently demonstrated.
How would you plan and evaluate your product’s marketing strategy if you didn’t have access to IMS data?
This rather grim scenario is already a reality for pharmaceutical executives whose territories cover the US states of New Hampshire and Vermont. Now a blackout on prescription data it is now on the cards for the much larger jurisdiction of California. Those in favour of prohibiting medical ‘data mining’ include the influential Californian Medical Association (CMA).
The shocking cost of hospital superbugs such as MRSA to the Irish healthcare system has just been widely reported so we’ll deliver this story in a whisper as we wouldn’t want it to be picked up by more sensationalist media…The FDA are investigating if some anti-bacterial hand washes may be harmful to your health.
The ingredient in question – triclosan – is present in everything from soaps to socks and the agency has stressed there are no grounds to recommend any changes in the use of products that contain it. However, Massachusetts Democrat congressman Edward Markey has already called it to be banned from hand washes and other products that could come in contact with food. “There are many troubling questions about triclosan's effectiveness and potentially harmful effects, especially for children," Markey said in a statement.
How many readers have– in partnership with specialist medical bodies – encouraged the development of clinical guidelines? Such protocols are a pretty standard way of promoting optimal prescribing practice and can deliver a boost to sales if your product has the right data behind it. Your scribe scribbled furiously on many occasions as eminent doctors and representatives of specialist medical groups sat around round tables and debated algorithms that could only encourage improved clinical decision making and better patient outcomes. However, moves are now afoot that would ultimately prevent pharmaceutical companies from playing any role in the development of medical guidelines.
The anxiety associated with appearing on television is one that no amount of media training can ever really dispel. That’s because if you’re interviewed by an aggressive journalist with an agenda, it’s very hard to come out ahead. Of course, we wouldn’t dream of suggesting good media training isn’t money well spent. Some trainers are better at offering practical advice than others and we thought we’d worked with the very best. However, a recent Newsnight performance on BBC2 left us seeking new superlatives and simply must be viewed. Who would have believed that a grey Welsh economist by the name of Dr Eurfyl ap Gwilym would be the man to put Jeremy Paxman back in his box?
There’s been a fair bit of crystal ball gazing in pharma circles of late. For example, GSK chief Andrew Witty recently told Reuters the continued Greek economic meltdown will cause sustained price reductions by many under-pressure EU governments. Now, the Harvard Business Review has predicted the three trends that are most likely to influence the pharmaceutical sector on a global basis going forward. Have a guess what they are and read on.
Hunky Dory’s approach to selling crisps has come under intense scrutiny of late. Everyone now knows that the company deployed a series of gratuitous billboards involving scantily clad female sportswomen to grab consumer attention. These also announced Hunky Dory’s was the ‘Proud Sponsors of Irish Rugby ’. Quicker than you could say forward pass, the Irish Rugby Football Union called in their lawyers and the media lined out to pass on hundreds of thousands of euro worth of free publicity. My colleagues and I recognise ‘ambush marketing’ when we see it. But we also wondered how the folks at Tayto, the Irish crisp market leader, were reacting. That’s because they launched their own expensive and rather conservative sports-based marketing campaign earlier that same week. We did a bit of potato business digging and made a discovery that left our jaws on the floor...
How the K-Club must be pining for the good old days when specialists and even mere GPs jostled for tee spots at the on the Kildare venue’s manicured lawns whilst pharmaceutical companies lined out to pick up the tab? Ancient memories of annual study days, successful round table meetings and hugely well-attended medical product launches at five-star venues all over Ireland were revived when we opened the Irish Medical News recently.
The government plans to introduce generic substitution next year and a HSE/DoH working group is currently formulating steps for introducing such a system. It is believed the new scheme may empower pharmacists to switch a patient’s medical script to a cheaper generic drug. Quite a bit of activity is ongoing that is likely to help generic switching enjoy a ‘soft landing’ in terms of a public response. For example, a recent IMB press release informed us that 78% of people surveyed would accept a generic medicine if it were offered to them by a doctor or pharmacist. That’s predictable enough. However, the research also contained bombshell that could undermine the entire premise of pharmacist-led switching and – perhaps unsurprisingly – this finding wasn’t highlighted at all.
With the amount of attention devoted to apps, social networking opportunities and cloud computing of late, it was a blessed relief to learn that remarkable marketing solutions are possible using much more traditional technology. Readers familiar with fast food outlets will know that a key Burger King selling point is that their hamburgers are made to order. So how do you remind customers of this commitment to fresh, personalised product? Well, the company’s Brazil operation cooked up a stunningly-simple solution using nothing more complex than a camera and printer.