Pharmacy Courses

Pharmaceutical Marketing Process: Planning to Achievement


Pharmaceutical marketing start from identification of the customer need or demand then goes on until patients' or doctors' tell the product benefits to more consumers or customers. 

There are essentially two categories of drugs: self-medication or over the counter (OTC) drugs, and prescription drugs - sometimes referred to as ethical drugs. Depending on the category of drug the nature of the marketing mission is different.

Strategic Steps for Pharmaceutical Marketing

Pharmaceutical marketing involves a series of strategic steps to promote and sell pharmaceutical products while ensuring compliance with regulations and ethical considerations. The major steps of pharmaceutical marketing typically include:

Market Research and Analysis

Conduct thorough research to understand the target audience, market trends, competitive landscape, and unmet medical needs. This helps in identifying opportunities and challenges.

Product Selection and Approval

Select the time worthy pharmaceutical products through rigorous research, clinical trials, and regulatory processes. Obtain necessary approvals from health authorities such as the FDA (in the U.S.) before the product can be marketed.

Segmentation and Targeting

Divide the market into distinct segments based on factors like demographics, medical conditions, preferences, and behavior. Identify the most suitable target audience for the specific product.

Positioning and Differentiation

Determine how to position the product in the minds of consumers and healthcare professionals. Highlight unique features and benefits that differentiate the product from competitors.

Marketing Strategy Development

Create a comprehensive marketing strategy that outlines goals, messaging, channels, and tactics for reaching the target audience. This could include online and offline methods such as digital marketing, physician outreach, and more.

Regulatory Compliance

Ensure that all marketing efforts adhere to strict regulatory guidelines set by health authorities to promote ethical and safe practices in pharmaceutical promotion.

Promotion and Advertising

Develop promotional materials and advertising campaigns that effectively communicate the product's benefits, uses, and safety information. This includes creating content for both healthcare professionals and patients.

Sales Force Training

Train the pharmaceutical sales team to have a deep understanding of the product, its benefits, and its use cases. This helps them communicate effectively with healthcare professionals and address any questions.

Engagement with Healthcare Professionals

Engage with physicians, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals to provide them with accurate and up-to-date information about the product. This could involve seminars, conferences, and one-on-one meetings.

Digital Marketing and Online Presence

Utilize digital platforms such as social media, websites, and online ads to reach a wider audience, provide educational content, and engage with potential customers.

Patient Education

Develop patient-focused materials that help individuals understand their medical conditions, treatment options, and the benefits of the pharmaceutical product. This can empower patients to make informed decisions.

Monitoring and Data Analysis

Continuously monitor the effectiveness of marketing strategies and campaigns using data analytics. Adjust tactics based on performance metrics and customer feedback.

Post-Marketing Surveillance

After the product is on the market, monitor its safety and effectiveness through pharmacovigilance programs. Address any emerging concerns promptly and transparently.

Relationship Building

Foster long-term relationships with healthcare professionals, patients, and other stakeholders through ongoing communication, support programs, and feedback mechanisms.

Ethical Considerations for Promotion of Pharmaceutical Products 

Historically promotion for prescription drugs occurred only from manufacturer to prescriber so that physicians and others with prescribing powers were the gatekeepers to eventual drug sales. The promotion strategies therefore were all essentially “push” focused.

Internet Promotion

Increasingly consumer pull for drugs is being created indirectly also by Internet promotion, and perhaps more questionably by partnerships with patient support groups. But internet pharmacies provide poor quality information, fail to have adequate safeguards to ensure medicines are dispensed correctly, and also charge more for both products and services.

However even if one sets aside the impact of Internet pharmacies, on the basis that the additional costs may put them outside the reach of consumer, the Internet has also offered Big Pharma a largely unregulated way to reach the consumer directly – through company websites.

Physician Targeted Promotion

Physician targeted promotion is significantly greater on all fronts, both financially and in terms of eventual outcomes. This activity includes advertising, gift giving and support for medically related activities such as travel to meetings and support for conferences. Sometimes this type of promotion lead to prescribe low quality products from least regulated companies.

Why do firms spend so much on promotion to doctors? 

Essentially because they rightly see that doctors are the gatekeepers to the success of individual brands.

It's important to note that pharmaceutical marketing is subject to stringent regulations, particularly regarding the promotion of prescription medications. The steps listed above should be carried out in accordance with these regulations and ethical guidelines.

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