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Patients Crave Tech-Savvy, Life-Cycle Patient Outreach Programs: PwC report

Nov. 13, 2013

To demonstrate value in the age of personalized medicine, drugmakers must adjust their marketing campaigns around patients’ real-world experiences, a new PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report says. Companies willing to connect with patients through the use of mobile technology that can monitor patients’ “healthcare journey” will have an edge, the report adds.

The days of simply touting a product’s safety and efficacy are over, according to PwC’s survey of more than 700 U.S. consumers. Today’s patients want “contextual understanding of their prescriptions” — something they don’t get from current pharmaceutical education campaigns.

Drug companies have a long history of reaching out to patients. In 2012 alone, the industry spent more than $3 billion on direct-to-consumer marketing out of $27 billion in total promotional spending, the report states. “But as new drugs aim for more targeted populations, companies must go beyond focus groups and mass market advertisements.”

PwC recommends drugmakers look at what other industries are doing to better understand, and engage with, their customers, including through the use of “tracking” technology. At least 37 percent of those surveyed by PwC said they would be interested in using a mobile app capable of monitoring their health vitals. Even more want do-it-yourself pharmacy health screening stations.

“Technology that gives consumers more control over their lives, suggests healthy decisions and avoids unnecessary medical appointments can bolster patient empowerment and improve outcomes,” the report says. “If their expectations are met, they’re more likely to follow the proper course of treatment for longer.”

Meeting those expectations requires a marketing campaign that allows for real-time feedback and a lifecycle approach to company-customer interaction. “Expectations of meaningful information, outcomes or support evolve over time especially as an illness progresses,” PwC says.

The professional services firm advices drugmakers to work closely with regulatory authorities on their updated customer-outreach programs in the absence of social media guidance.

To read the PwC report, go to www.pwc.com/us/pharmacustomer. — Johnathan Rickman

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