Vantage Point: Fixing What's Broken in Pharma

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Susan Schwartz McDonald, president and CEO of National Analysts Worldwide, was CASRO chair, 2010-11
Susan Schwartz McDonald, president and CEO of National Analysts Worldwide, was CASRO chair, 2010-11

There's reason for hand-wringing in our industry, but we're now able to put statistics around that concern—and shed light on how sales and marketing executives plan to respond to mounting challenges over the next several years.

A survey of 156 US and EU-based leaders, conducted jointly by National Analysts Worldwide and Booz & Company, reveals that 68% agree “that the current commercial pharmaceutical model is broken.”

How do they plan to maximize asset value in this new environment, where key customers and customer expectations are being redefined? People generally expect to spend their way out of the problem, but those who agree the model is broken expect to spend more than those who don't—and to allocate resources in different ways. Key themes include:

• Organizing sales and marketing activities around diverse stakeholders, especially consolidated decision-makers like hospitals and insurers,

• A more creative approach to customer collaboration, with new pricing strategies and innovative service models,

• Doing a better job of showing value through ­outcomes, beginning earlier in the game,

• Emphasis on DTC marketing, recognizing that patients hold the other end of the purse strings, and

• More effective use of innovative digital marketing techniques.

This is all good news—industry recognition that we need new ways to gain traction. But there's also a cautionary note. Spending more across the board is not viable. Companies must deploy scarce resources strategically in order to achieve success.

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