2016 New Year's Resolutions for Pharma

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  • www.pharmamarketingnews.com

    January 2016 Vol. 15, No. 1

    Pharma Marketing Network

    Published by: Pharma Marketing Network

    2016 New Years Resolutions for Pharma How to Be Less Like Martin Shkreli Author: John Mack



  • Pharma Marketing News Vol. 15, No. 1: January 2016 Page 1

    2016 Pharma Marketing Network. All rights reserved. PMN1501-02 Pharma Marketing News

    n the one hand, 2015 was a very good year for the pharmaceutical industry and pharma marketers (read 2015 Was a Golden Year for Pharma; http://bit.ly/pmn150101h). On

    the other hand, the media and politicians have found a face for evil pharma and rising drug prices: Martin Shkreli!

    Lets look ahead to a better 2016 starting with my New Years Resolutions for the drug industry and especially pharmaceutical marketers. This is some-what of a tradition for me. If youre interested in how well my 2015 resolutions fared, read Looking Back on My 2015 New Year's Resolutions for Pharma; http://bit.ly/2015pgresol

    1: Put More Actionable Distance Between You and Martin Shkreli

    The drug industry certainly is getting oodles of bad press related to the actions of Martin Shkreli who told the Wall Street Journal he had been targeted by authorities for his much-criticized drug-price hikes and over-the-top public persona. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been looking into Mr. Shkreli since 2012, though its probe became a higher priority this September after his company Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of Daraprim, a drug for treating a life-threatening parasitic infection.

    Wolves of Pharma Street Shkreli has become the Wolf of Pharma Streethes basically come to represent everything that was bad and wrong with pharma, said Art Caplan, a medical ethicist at New York University, as quoted in a Chicago Tribune article. And while Shkreli may be reviled, said Caplan, hes not doing anything in terms of prices that other companies havent done (see Five Habits, Traits, Whatever! of Real Pharma Leaders; right).

    Shkreli said he was doing nothing more than increasing shareholder value, a sentiment recently expressed by Pfizer CEO Ian Read, a REAL wolf of Pharma Street, who said weve got to talk about imperatives; i.e., return on capital. Other drug company CEOs agree.

    O Five Habits, Traits, Whatever! of "Real" Pharma Leaders Reprinted from World of DTC Marketing (http://sco.lt/74JTJR) Forbes, in a recent editorial, said Pharma Needs A Leader In 2016 and I couldnt agree more, says blogger Rich Meyer, but lets be honest here, most pharma CEOs are NOT leaders but rather high paid executives who bow to investor needs and demands. What would Meyer like to see in a pharma leader? No pharma CEO should take a salary

    above $5M. Its not about the title and perks, its about actually leading people to help others who need help.

    CEOs should mandate that no patient will be left behind because they cant afford a product they market. If someone makes $100K per year, for example, they may not be able to afford a treatment for MS that costs $17K every other month if their insurer wont cover it.

    Win over the rank and file and recognize pirates and innovators. When I received my Presidents and Marketing Excel award at Lilly I received them from top executives and also received an email thanking me for my work. That was like a shot of corporate B12.

    Hold Wall Street at bay. Make them understand that instant gratification is rare within drug development. Remem-ber these are the same analysts that help cause the huge financial meltdown.

    Be human. Stop with the corporate speak. Talk to us like people with a PR talking points scorecard.

    Rich left out one requirement that applies to American pharma CEOs: Perhaps they should be natural born U.S. citizens as is required to be U.S. president. Maybe that would prevent companies like Pfizer giving up their American citizenship to evade U.S. taxes!



  • Pharma Marketing News Vol. 15, No. 1: January 2016 Page 2

    2016 Pharma Marketing Network. All rights reserved. PMN1501-02 Pharma Marketing News

    Drug executives say that the industry needs to do a better job explaining the economics of the industry to the broader public. In other words, now that Shkreli has everyones attention, its time for drug companies to tell a new storyto flip the Shkreli narrative.

    Many CEOs, for example, fall back on the tried-and-true cost of innovation argument. The guy who shall remain nameless does not recognize the added value of research and innovation, and is not representative of Big Pharma as a whole, said Habib Dable, Bayers new president of U.S. pharmaceuticals (see http://sco.lt/5986wT).

    Frankly, Im getting tired of it all. Shkreli had his 15 minutes of fame. Lets move on. Its time for the pharma industry to get its 15 minutes of fame by doing something substantial to distance itself from the likes of Shrkreli.

    Actions Needed, Not Just Words But its not enough to just tell a different story. The mainstream drug industry (Big Pharma) cannot distance itself from wolves like Shkreli merely through better corporate communications as suggested recently by John Higginson, head of corporate communications at ICG, a PR agency.

    So often [communications professionals within pharma companies] are held back by CEOs and boards who treat their communications with the same risk aversion as they take to running the rest of their business, said Higginson. It is time to let those who are willing and able to speak up for the industry to do so. The time to stick heads above the parapet is now (http://sco.lt/8SVCb3).

    Higginson says pharma should counteract the public perception that the industry puts profits before patients. But then he says this message is blocked by CEO & board resistance. That resistance comes from the profit-motive heart of the drug industry, which is precisely where Martin Shkreli exists. Shkreli claimed that Delaware corporate rules require that he maximize profits. Although there is no such rule, its what CEOs as paid to do.

    The industry also cannot alter public opinion using 140 characters or less on Twitter such as in this PhRMA tweet: .@TuringPharma does not represent the values of @PhRMA member companies.

    In any case, actions, not words are needed.

    Orphan drugs are big these days thanks in part to the exploitation of loopholes in the Orphan Drug Act (see Otsuka [a PhRMA member company] to FDA: No Thanks... Orphan Status for Abilify is More Profitable. Generics Can Pound Sand!; http://sco.lt/5n2l6n). How about supporting the closing of that loophole?

    Of course, the best action pharma can take is to put the brakes on ever-increasing drug price hikes (see http://sco.lt/7RkgOP and http://sco.lt/5JLdE9). Unless that is a priority, Shkreli will continue to be the bad drug industry poster boy.

    2: Cut Down on the Use of Buzzwords

    Pharma marketers cannot communicate with each other without using buzzwords. But it may be a good idea to cut back a bit as some critics have suggested that buzzwords alienate patients and physicians (see, for example, Do Marketing Buzzwords Affect Pharma's Reputation Among Patients & Physicians?; http://bit.ly/1Qf3N76).



  • Pharma Marketing News Vol. 15, No. 1: January 2016 Page 3

    2016 Pharma Marketing Network. All rights reserved. PMN1501-02 Pharma Marketing News

    According to results of a Pharma Marketing News reader survey (http://bit.ly/pmn140401h), even in-dustry insiders question the use of buzzwords. We on the commercial side of the business have an unhealthy obsession with buzzwords, said Timothy White, Senior Director & Head of Global Customer Interaction Management at Lundbeck.

    CASE STUDY #1: Key Opinion Leader

    One buzzword that pharma could do without is Key Opinion Leader (KOL). You can find the definition of that term here: http://bit.ly/1U0tQ1V

    Nearly two-thirds (62%) of physicians deemed to be genuine medical experts believe the pharmaceutical industry should replace the term KOL. That was one of the insights gleaned from an international online survey presented at the Medical Affairs Leaders Forum in Berlin, in February, 2015 (read A KOL By Any Other Name; http://bit.ly/pmn140303h).

    CASE STUDY #2: Patient-Centricity

    Another buzzword that pharma marketers are throwing about much too frequently is patient centricity. The problem is there is no good definition of the term and too many marketers use it to focus on meeting the brands needs to sell more product.

    Selling products is the main goal of patient-centricity according to Richie Etwaru, IMS Health. By listening to customers, said Etwaru, and working to understand the good, bad and ugly parts of the patient experience, life-sciences companies can become patient-centric and move from dislike to like. Only then will they buy more of our products and services (http://sco.lt/5e6HKb).

    Zoe Dunnone of the Digitally Savvy Women in Pharma, http://bit.ly/pmn150103hsaid marketers will continue to fool [themselves] that [they] are delivering what the patient needs. We need clarity around our focus and better under-standing of patient needs, even when they diverge from what we are tasked to deliver. We need creativity and innova