According to the fifth and final chapter of the eBook, Modern Pharma Marketing: Pharma’s Data-Powered AI Revolution, the authors from Intouch Solutions and Digital Health Coalition (DHC) look ahead to 2023. They note “[w]e believe that AI today is analogous to the ‘e’ revolution of the 1990s. By 2023, we won’t be talking about AI-powered solutions – the same way that we eventually stopped talking about ‘e-business.’ Terms that specify a technology’s inclusion stop being used when the technology becomes an assumed part of life.
“So: must you run out and create an AI project today to keep up appearances? Absolutely not. But AI is going to become a fundamental part of modern pharma marketing in fairly short order. This will happen in both blatant and subtle ways – from specific AI tools, to behind-the-scenes use of AI technology.” Among their predictions are: how AI will be used to help us better collect, analyze, and manage data; the gradual implementation of technology into our everyday lives, including providing us with better predictions or doing more with less instruction.”
Mark Bard, DHC co-founder, was quoted for the chapter: “AI is becoming part of the healthcare delivery system at every step. In a world where AI powers clinical decisions by providers and payers, the rules of engagement – and influence – evolve. Pharma and medical device companies must become conversant with the technology and algorithms to understand where they stand and how to optimize the role of products within the new world of data-driven medicine.”
Breast Cancer Healthline launched shortly before Breast Cancer Awareness month in October. This new app provides 1:1 support for patients, survivors, and caregivers through an online community that offers shared experiences, advice and encouragement, as well as the latest news, research, and information, all in real-time. As stated in the news release, “Designed by Healthline to empower people to live beyond their disease through support, hope and knowledge, the Breast Cancer Healthline app offers:
Peer support with many ways to connect, from one-to-one messaging to six group chats accessible anytime, anywhere;
Personalized guidance and customized content for both patients and caregivers;
Access to meet other members and discuss whatever is on their mind, like self-care, nutrition, relationships and work;
Breast cancer content that is medically reviewed, socially inspired and data-driven;
A single destination where each member understands that they are not alone.”
Ann Silberman, a current user and patient/survivor, was also quoted in the news release, saying, “My matches have been about my age and stage, so we’ve touched on our worries and fears. It’s incredibly helpful to have the matching system. Because I’m stage 4, travel is hard and without the online world I would not be able to even talk to people with my similar diagnosis.” The app is available for both Android and IOS. It has been featured as one of Apple’s Appstore’s “New Apps We Love” since it’s June premiere.
Healthline is the fastest growing consumer health information site, having reached 67.3 million unique visitors in August 2018, 53 million of which were from the US, according to comScore. As noted in the news release, the company’s property domains – Healthline.com and MedicalNewsToday.com – saw significant gains over the past year: Healthline.com posted a 62% growth in monthly unique visitors vs August of last year and MedicalNewsToday.com saw a +206% increase when compared to August 2017. This helped Healthline debut in the top 50 digital media properties according to comScore.
As per the news release, “Our plan for 2018 was to increase people’s access to Healthline properties, in order to touch more people, improve health and change lives,” said David Kopp, Chief Executive Officer of Healthline Media, Inc. “I’m proud that our team’s active listening to the public, online queries and proactive content development is meeting people’s needs and attracting more users, making Healthline one of the fastest growing digital media properties in the health information category.”
You’re likely in the thick of planning for 2019 (caffeine in hand!). If you’re following in the footsteps of other pharma brands and agencies, there’s a good chance you’re looking to include point-of-care (POC) tactics in your plans: According to Medical Marketing & Media Healthcare Marketers 2017 Trend Report, 36% of pharma brand marketers expect to increase their POC marketing spend this year.
Great stats that show point of care is on the rise! That said, it is still somewhat of a niche channel and can be complex compared to traditional channels. To help further your POC planning efforts, here are some helpful industry resources I recommend:
Why POC: A quick look into the promotional effectiveness POC generates to support your brand.
POC Buyer’s Guide: What standards and questions should you ask in choosing a point of care investment?
Auditing and Verification Standards: As the POC3 Buyer’s Guide advises, brands and agencies need to be fully up-to-date on network verification efforts of their potential POC partner. This is an inside look at what we do at PatientPoint (and I like to think we set the bar high!).
Measurement Glossary: Your cheat sheet for better understanding the terms and research methodologies behind POC measurement approaches.
What are the challenges you see in planning for point of care? One that I see has risen is the need for a common currency: Is it doctors? Locations? Impressions? It’s critical to compare apples to apples when putting that buy in a spreadsheet, as practices are definitely not created equal.
According to the American Medical Association, for the first time in modern U.S. history, less than half of doctors own their own medical practice. Rather, as the New York Times reported, 43% of all HCPs are now employed by top hospital groups and health systems. So a large practice brings much more value to a brand than a 1-2 doctor practice, which would be missed when just counting locations as the sole “currency.” Thus, my vote is for the currency of HCPs! It’s how pharma targets, and it’s how we recruit providers to be a part of our growing network.
At PatientPoint, we have 80 full-time employees working with HCPs/systems across the country and we’re investing $25 million into health systems for greater patient and physician engagement. We’re also committed to growing in other areas where client impact will be the greatest:
Primary care: Expansion to more than 25k high-value primary care HCPs by EOY 2019
Continued growth to deliver unprecedented impact in oncology of nearly 40% of all volume
Launching patient and physician platforms for the neurology specialty in 2019
All of this is being done to ensure you gain the most value out of your POC investments. I want to hear from you – what do you think the common currency should be in measuring POC effectiveness? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or (513) 936-3549.
The Senate recently passed an amendment to a larger health care bill that requires drug prices be disclosed in DTC Ads. The Durbin amendment was adopted with bipartisan support. It really just gives HHS a million dollars to study a way to require the disclosure. What is clear is this idea has strong support from President Trump, Congress, HHS Secretary Azar, and the American Medical Association. So, like it or not, the drug advertisers may be forced to add some price information to ads.
On the surface, that list price disclosure seems reasonable. We see MSRP in car ads, so we know whether it is a premium or economy car. Not that we don’t know that already but it is not unreasonable. For cars, we know we will likely pay somewhat less than MSRP but we do know the range a Mercedes will cost us. Congress thinks consumers deserve to know the price of drugs they see advertised. To Congress that seems like it would help consumers decide if this advertised drug should be considered.
Drug pricing is not like car pricing. Consumers pay much less than the list price and sometimes pay nothing for the $50000 drug for cancer. Admittedly, drug pricing is a Byzantine process that confounds most of us. Each insurance company, PBM, and government payer negotiates prices. Each consumer depending on their insurance pays a different price no way near the list price. Sometimes the consumer would pay out of pocket more for their OTC cough medicine than the $50000 cancer drug.
So how should drug companies disclose drug prices? If the list price is not anywhere near what consumers pay, then how does disclosing it help them? It does not. It helps insurance companies in making DTC more difficult for drug companies to execute. The knowledgeable legislators know that if they force drug makers to talk about price that may discourage them from doing DTC Ads for expensive drugs. Drug makers advertising the $100000 cancer drug may decide that DTC is not worth trying to explain the complexities of drug pricing or face the barrage of criticism for having a sticker shock price.
I think this is the real reason for this amendment. Embarrassing drug companies they hope will put a chill on DTC for cancer drugs, biologics for arthritis, Crohn’s, and other new premium drugs. Of course, all drugs will face a guidance on how pricing needs to be discussed. Somehow FDA will make disclosure a time consuming step in a DTC ad. That will add 10-15 seconds to the ad and may make them difficult to execute. Their hope is to get drug companies to stop doing DTC.
So the good news is it will take FDA a while to study and draft guidance for disclosing price. This lag may allow the powerful advertising lobby to show how impractical this disclosure requirement will be. My guess is we may have some compromise that speaks in terms of ranges of price. That is something like “most patients will pay much less than the price listed depending on your insurance coverage.” Or, drug makers may be able to say “the average price paid by consumers is x.”
It may be illegal to require drug makers to disclose price under commercial free speech grounds. I am sure the advertising lobby will argue this inhibits commercial speech. They would have a strong case based on precedent.
My advice to the agencies is to be ready to deal with adding some price statement but I am sure it will be a few years before FDA can figure out how best to do this. They research everything they do and that will take a long time to study. DTC price disclosure sounds great but is just a bad idea that will not help patients.