Give docs a shot in the arm

Give docs a shot in the arm

Is there anything that pharma can do to make doctors' lives easier?

Predicting your pink slip

Predicting your pink slip

Any time a firm needs to save money, high-salaried executives are targets

Pharma's role in cost control

Pharma's role in cost control

It may be time to adopt a model in which we help deliver healthcare

Think you own your brand? Think again

Think you own your brand? Think again

When you have a successful brand, you tamper with it at your peril

The $3 generic and the $1,000 pill: pharma outsiders just don't get it

The $3 generic and the $1,000 pill: pharma outsiders just don't get it

What do you call the people who treat medical breakthroughs as if they were bank heists? Malicious? Uninformed? Not with it?

Making medicine emotional

Making medicine emotional

We identify not with just the product, but with what it represents

Popping the digital bubble

Popping the digital bubble

A general consensus is that a "shake-up" of some kind is coming

Combating concept churn

Combating concept churn

There's no cure. But the good news is that prophylaxis is possible.

Putting moves on Big Data

Putting moves on Big Data

It's time to make healthcare data Big, and for patients' sake, sexy

Agencies, get over your fear

Agencies, get over your fear

Success cures fear, and success is born out of focus and hard work

From RFP to termination call

From RFP to termination call

There is room for growth, loyalty and long-term partnering

How to raise the quality bar

How to raise the quality bar

As healthcare marketers and their agencies develop ever more digital customer solutions like mobile medical apps, it may be time to take a fresh look at these offerings

Is the current agency model a joke?

Is the current agency model a joke?

Why agencies must get out of the strategy business.

Strengthening digital DNA

Strengthening digital DNA

Digital DNA is an inevitability, as we cannot forever resist this societal tide

It's all about the context

It's all about the context

Contextual awareness can mobilize patients' relationships to a brand

What Deen could have done

What Deen could have done

In times of crisis, there is no sleep for the weary—or the accused

Idea still trumps everything

The octane of the idea determines how well a digital tactic performs

Off-label on the table

Off-label on the table

FDA cannot rely solely on the label or the current standard for drug approvals

Learning from BlackBerry

Learning from BlackBerry

Apple picked up on what customers truly wanted, a more holistic experience

Marketers in white coats

Marketers in white coats

A scientific approach to marketing could yield efficiencies at every stage

Shelter from the storm

Shelter from the storm

The phrase "perfect storm" powerfully describes the colliding forces in healthcare

The multicultural moment

The multicultural moment

The question is not whether you should do it, but how to do it successfully

Learning from the e-lection

Learning from the e-lection

Mechanics may have been instrumental in determining the outcome of the election

Take off the blinders

Take off the blinders

"Big data" has radically enhanced the opportunities for industry to help patients

Rise, fall of the 'Mad Men' age

Rise, fall of the 'Mad Men' age

Project timelines that were once measured in months are now compressed into days

Putting content into context

Putting content into context

As with "one-size-fits-all" marketing, the "content-only-driven" strategy is outdated

Pharma must reboot iPads

Pharma must reboot iPads

For pharma to truly unlock the power of the iPad, we need to evolve the way we look at it

Soldiers of communication

Soldiers of communication

Military communication has an urgency that you can't match in the business world

Pharma, heal thyself

Pharma, heal thyself

Improved patient outcomes must be a stated, and measured, goal of all players in the pharma industry

Closest to the customer wins

Closest to the customer wins

Agencies can embrace the need to change—or sit back and watch their value melt away

CES: Convergence continues

CES: Convergence continues

The desire to reduce the cost of delivering care has led to redefining 'point of care'

Docs, patients and pharma

Docs, patients and pharma

Harnessing the power of digital and social media to maximize the doctor/patient relationship

Healthcare's tectonic shift

Healthcare's tectonic shift

Whether or not Obamacare survives in court, the cost-control squeeze is going to intensify

Making sense of safety data

Making sense of safety data

A tidal wave of information is on the horizon. Processing, analyzing and drawing accurate conclusions from that information is healthcare's next major challenge.

Getting on the digital track

Getting on the digital track

Pharmaceutical companies have not moved nearly fast enough to keep up with their customers' digital preferences

What 1966 can still teach us

More than enough has been written how change is affecting our industry today. Instead, let's look at what hasn't changed and why the things that have not changed remain important.

Potential of physician CRM

A lot of ink has been spilt on the decline of the blockbuster and the search for a new specialty-product commercial model. But less attention has been paid to how that changes marketing strategy.

Social health revolution

While doctors and nurses remain the first choice for most people with health concerns, the internet is making a significant impact on patients' healthcare decisions.

A view to a pill

Many individuals outside the pharma industry have a maniacal vision of our senior executives.

Multicultural matters

It will take some time before we begin to see top-line results from the 2010 US Census. However, it's a pretty safe prediction that the new census will show us that we are at or near the point where more than one out of every three of the more than 300 million Americans did not designate themselves as white.

Moms on the front line

On Feb. 28, more than 30 countries across the world observed Rare Disease Day.

The traditional model is N/A

For generations, success in pharma could be virtually guaranteed by the three Ms: Put your best minds on discovering new treatments, invest enough money in development and commercialization and support the resulting brands with enough marketing, and you were golden.

The real story at CES 2011

Innovations in healthcare seem to be popping up in new places all the time, including the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January.

Keep fighting for free speech

It dawned on me at the New Year, that it was some 20 years ago that the Coalition for Healthcare Communication came into being.

The changing role of brands

A brand is more than just a symbol, slogan or trade name. It transcends logos and visual identities. Brands establish identity, provide differentiation and, most importantly, drive economic value.

The vital signs of culture

As our nation continues to debate how the healthcare system should be fixed, little attention has been paid to the need to better incorporate multiculturalism in the provision of medical care.

Nurture advocacy relationships

Advocacy organizations serve as primary drivers of opinion and knowledge with patients, media and policy makers.

Next innovation is performance

In the 1990s, brand-based DTC advertising was a big breakthrough innovation in pharmaceutical marketing.

The doctor won't see you now

The number of pharma sales reps who wait for doctors and never see them is quickly growing.

Boomers respond to DRTV

Call it the Gray Tsunami, the Silver Tsunami or just plain Baby Boomers getting old. The first of more than 77 million Baby Boomers entering Medicare next year will lead to more changes in our ever-evolving healthcare system.

The role of communications

The biggest piece of social legislation since Medicare has passed. The sweeping healthcare reform bill will touch the lives of all Americans, and even more so for the 34 million who will now have health insurance.

The time is now

Anyone who is involved with the biopharmaceutical industry and who is even half-awake knows how difficult it is for companies to navigate today's increasingly hostile legal and regulatory enforcement landscape.

Marketers lack leadership

Many people regard pharmaceutical firms as a necessary evil—they deliver life-saving products but are also to blame for rising healthcare costs. With the industry facing subsequent and serious image problems, strong leadership matters more than ever.

The industry's cultural deficit

Innovative chemical compounds have improved the quality and longevity of the lives of many Americans. Many diseases that were once a death sentence are now treatable.

The pharma PR dilemma

Call it the law of unintended consequences or the perfect storm or a bad hair day or any other cliché you can think of, but as 2009 came to a close we once again faced a cluster of bad news for the pharma industry.

10 predictions for the decade

The pharma industry looks to the next decade with trepidation. Growth in many sectors is flat. Generic expiries loom. Trust in the industry is at rock bottom.

Warranties for healthcare?

American consumers are used to warranties. If you buy a TV set and it stops working within a specified time, you can ask for a replacement or to have it fixed.

Social media virgin at work

I'm old enough to remember a time when everybody in pharma suddenly had to have a website for their brand—not for any strategic reason, but because it was the thing to do.

Death of the public option

Mr. Ross, when you headed KPR Informedia, did you submit articles to medical journals that were ghostwritten?

DDMAC losing patience

In its August 2009 blizzard of compliance correspondence, DDMAC used some of the harshest language in recent Warning Letter memory to send what can only be interpreted as a message that its patience is wearing thin.

Is pharma ready this time?

Pharma and biotech companies are competing to have enough vaccine on hand for the next swine flu (H1N1) outbreak. They missed the one last winter and spring, and their response has uniformly been: We'll be ready next time.

Social media rules for pharmas

At a recent conference, I told two perplexed-looking FDA attendees that I thought pharma has a distinct advantage with social media, because we're used to marketing with boundaries, and social-media rules and FDA guidelines are actually quite similar.

Latest FDA guidance may require copy testing

What the FDA euphemistically calls "guidances" are usually received by industry with something less than cheers. Despite the name, the guidances are often perceived as directives to be ignored at your peril.

Old ideas for the new world

My friend and former colleague, the late Steve Gross, was having dinner one night with the head of rheumatology from a major teaching hospital. 
The doctor asked Steve if he knew the "Five Rules for Success."

The magic of IT

Again and again you see the statement that information technology will not only avoid medication errors but stop (or even reverse) the upward trend of healthcare costs.

Tune up for tough times

In these troubled times, it is important to remember that some things are within your control, while others are not. Troughs in the economic cycle provide an opportunity to assess where you are, decide where you want to be and develop a plan for getting there.

The dilemma of the pens

As of the first of the year the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA code) forbade the distribution of such goodies as pens or mugs with product logos.

Good job

I remember the pleasure I took in watching my children learn to climb stairs.

Clarifying myth-information

By the time you read this, most of the holiday parties will be a distant memory. The champagne is gone, the confetti swept up and the sugar plums have turned into prunes.

Notes from rehab

No, not that kind of rehab. On October 4 I had a stroke.

Pens and doughnuts

Disclosure: My father and mother were both physicians so I obviously have a pro-doctor bias.

Mr. H and the rallying cry

Recently I had the distinct honor of delivering the keynote address for the Doctors' Choice Awards, an event sponsored by the Association of Medical Media.

Diversity: A natural evolution

Today, we kneel to the Internet and the opportunities it has made possible.

SUVs, CEOs and WCs

The initials CEO, CFO and COO have become so ubiquitous that it's no longer necessary to spell out what they stand for. (I hope.)

Professional guinea pigging

One of the most useful skills I learned in high school was how to write book reports without reading the whole book.

A split on DTC is coming

The pharmaceutical industry's character—its products, messages, promo channels and even its audiences—have been determined by governmental regulation and trade conventions practiced by media and manufacturers.

The un-empowered patient

It's become part of received wisdom that today's patient is an active partner in his or her medical care. Since we all accept this as fact, we don't think it's worth questioning.

The thornier side of PDMA

To marketing people in the pharmaceutical industry, the Prescription Drug Marketing Act (PDMA) lists numerous government regulations related to prescription drug samples.

Be careful what you wish for

Success! When Congress was debating the new Medicare drug benefit, the pharmaceutical industry's top priority was to make sure the government could not negotiate prescription drug prices.

Dems plans bad for pharma

January has kicked off the 2008 election cycle, with the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries taking the lead.

Plus ça change....

Pardon my French, but there's no better cliché to describe a special issue of Harper's magazine dated October 1960, starting with the cover headline: "The Crisis in American Medicine."

Let the games begin!

No, not next summer's Olympic Games scheduled in Beijing from September 6 through the 17, but, the games that are beginning now, which will last until election day 2008, and possibly well beyond that.

In search of perfect pitch

In baseball, a pitch that was perfect in Abner Doubleday's era would still be pretty darn good today--the dimensions of the strike zone have stayed remarkably consistent through the history of the game.

The risk/benefit fallacy

When the members of the FDA advisory committee voted 22 to 1 to keep Avandia on the market, they had concluded that the epidemiologic data showed that the benefits of the drug outweighed the risks.

How to recycle your skills

Some retired folks play golf all day; others travel. But there’s something about healthcare communication execs that makes them not want to quit. Instead of retiring, they start a new career.

10 days that nearly shook us

Talk about a confluence of events. In just 10 days, three major threats to medical communications came to a head. And for once, our side won or made significant progress on all three: CME, DTC and the continued use of prescribing information.

Cats and Saint Sebastian

If healthcare communicators ever look for a patron saint, I nominate St. Sebastian, sentenced to have archers shoot arrows at him from all directions.

Beware of samples of one

We all know that if you live on McDonald’s hamburgers for a month you’ll turn grossly obese, your “bad” cholesterol level will zoom and your liver will deteriorate.

Failure to communicate

In the classic 1967 movie, Cool Hand Luke, Paul Newman earns the respect of his fellow chain-gang prisoners by refusing to stay down after being beaten to a pulp.

Transhuman or non-human?

Just what do you think you’re doing? That maternal admonition might well be addressed by Mother Nature to the geneticists and biochemists whose research promises not just “to add a trait here or to subtract a defect here, but to alter radically our very being.”

Is the 'new CME' on track?

When organized CME was in its infancy, we viewed it as the professional responsibility of a physician to keep up in those areas that would benefit the care of patients.

When Frist and Clinton agree

Sens. Frist and Clinton are both on record as supporting the push for computerizing medical record keeping.

Von Eschenbach's vision

Imagine (we all have bad dreams from time to time) that you’ve been appointed FDA Commissioner.

40 years of cheers and jeers

MM&M's 40th anniversary called to mind that one of my first articles for the magazine--not quite 40 years ago but close--was about the emergence of accredited CME and how it not only provided a new communications channel for the industry but was making a major contribution to better patient care.

The teacher I'd hoped for

He had a way with words. Anyone who knew him would tell you that.

Acronymics Anonymous (AA)

Jack Barrette of Yahoo! wrote in a letter to the editor (MM&M, May 2006): "We live in a world of consumers deeply engaged in their health."

Long live consumer education

It is a fact of life that direct-to-consumer (DTC) promotion has become increasingly educational—as addressed by PhRMA's guidelines for DTC advertising, FDA's public hearing on consumer guidelines and, recently, the Coalition for Healthcare Communication's citizens' petition.

The 'in' words for 2006

In my agency days, I always wanted to see firsthand how well the sales aids we created worked in the field.

The pen got too mighty

As a former journalist, I was always trained to write the truth.

Beware conventional wisdom

A year ago, conventional wisdom proclaimed that the dollar would continue to decline.

The Women's Health landscape is ripe with opportunity for pharma marketers. This seven-page eBook offers product managers a guide to capitalizing on the trends, growth areas and unmet needs. Includes alternative channels to engage OB/GYNs and oncologists, and plenty of tips. Click here to access it.

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