Monday, August 25, 2014

Using Digital to Reach the "King of the Mountain"

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“Across most of the United States, the mountains of market access are Rocky Mountain High, and the Payer is King of the Mountain,” writes Patti Peoples.  So is pharma getting it right with payers?  From the digital space specifically, that answer is a resounding “no” according to Patti.  She’s used to hearing that legal and regulatory restrictions hamper the entire process.  While that excuse have held true a few years ago, in today’s day and age it’s exactly that—an excuse.

Where exactly should pharma start in looking at a digital strategy?  Good question.

From your perspective, what’s the most important thing to address in a payer digital strategy?

Patti: Well, if I was inside pharma and I was the decider, so to speak, I would approach this problem with the following roadmap. First, I would attempt to address the siloed mentality that naturally occurs within the organizational structure as it relates to promoting to the payer and managed markets arena. Currently, in the vast majority of pharmaceutical companies, there is a strategic separation between sales, marketing, managed market, ePromotion, as well as the HEOR – the Health Economic and Outcomes Research - Department. Each one of these stakeholders is involved in formulating payer promotion, but presently they typically live in different parts of the organization.

Using Digital to Reach the "King of the Mountain"
If the payer is "king of the mountain", how can pharma reach them?
They have different incentives and metrics for success. So, it is essential to get these groups on the same page with respect to payer promotion. And then you can move from that of how you are promoting to payers, what sections of that payer promotion are you going to leverage in the digital environment.

The second group that I would address internally within pharma is the legal and regulatory department as they relate to digital promotion and promotion of health economic information. And I think that with an ability to address the natural silo mentality, then a strategy can flow naturally from that.

I would also spend quite a bit of effort in helping these internal stakeholders to understand that promoting digitally to payers requires a changing of the focus from how we are promoting digitally to providers, that is doctors, and consumers. Payers require a business-to-business focus as opposed to a business-to-end-user or end-prescriber focus.

Most importantly, I would simultaneously be doing some market research to speak directly with the payers to identify their needs and desires with respect to digital. How can pharma attain that less contentious relationship with payers and help those payers get to the more customer-centric and value-based approach that they hope? And how can the pharma industry help them achieve that with digital methods?

You can download the entire interview here.

Need more on the latest strategy in digital pharma? Join us at ePharma West, September 22-24 in San Francisco, CA. Download the agenda to see what’s on tap.

SAVE $100. Register here and use code XP1956BLOG.

This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz

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Friday, August 22, 2014

#ePharma Buzz- 8/22

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Hidden behind a layer of ice bucket challenges this week were a few good reads on #ePharma.  We got our hands dirty and sifted through our news feeds from the last seven days to generate a list of the most noteworthy industry pieces.  

How Can Pharmaceutical Companies Build Closer Relationships With Social Patients?Medical Marketing & Media- In a new study, more than half of patients who are active on social indicated they would be “very likely” to share manufacturer provided information about new treatments.  Only 17% of the respondents said they would not be likely to share the info.  But if you’re trying to reach this group with your latest content, social may not be the best route. Almost all (91%) prefer email when receiving updates from manufacturers.  Does this mean we should all go hit our mailing lists with the latest company whitepapers? Not necessarily.  Says Jeff Greene, “Know your target and meet their needs using channels they prefer.”

Study: How Patients Want to Communicate with Their Physician, TechnologyAdvice- Studies have shown patients are willing to engage with doctors via mobile and digital platforms but don't confuse that willingness for a preference.  According to a recent study, 42.9% of patients would rather be contacted by phone while only 38.7% want to be contacted digitally (either online or through email).  When it comes to receiving lab results, even fewer patients (32.7%) prefer to get the news through digital means.  What should come as no surprise is that age was a factor in these results. Of those 18-24, 63.6% indicated they would prefer using an online calendar to schedule appointments while every age group above 35 showed a preference for over-the-phone scheduling.   

How Google Searches Can Help Determine Population Health, HealthcareDive­- New research from The New York Times shows that Google searches in places considered “hard” to live differ greatly from other areas.  The study showed those searches often include medicine and basic health information.  As stakeholders across the industry start to leverage “non-traditional” data in risk assessment, this may be another variable they should look to leverage.  While the study from The New York Times is admittedly rough, the potential appears to be there.

Digital Transformation Moves Pharma 'Beyond the Pill', Forbes- “The pharma companies are trying to figure out what to do. The competitors are the generics: identical and cheaper. The pharmas have to provide value beyond the drug itself,” says Erik Pilkington of McCann Health.  Most of these services are digital including wellness programs and chronic disease management platforms.  There’s a popular belief that in the future, pharma will be paid on patient outcomes as opposed to pills and these value adds could be one more step in that direction. 

What Do Patients Want in Mobile Health, World of DTC Marketing- Rich Meyer explains that what patients want and need in mHealth apps is actually quite different than what marketers believe they want.  Based on some of his research, the top priority for patients is both the ability to schedule medical appointments and keep all their health records stored in one place.  Could this make patients too independent?  It’s a concern shared by 42% of doctors. 

Looking for more than a week’s worth of the latest in digital pharma marketing? Join us at ePharma West, September 22-24 in San Francisco. Download the agenda to see what else is on tap.

Save $100
. Register here and use code XP1956BLOG.

This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Last Call for a $300 Savings on ePharma West

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Don’t let your weekend commence without taking a long, hard look at ePharma West.  Why?  Because come Monday, this $300 savings will have passed you by (as if you needed another reason to hate Monday). 

Besides for the great savings, you’ll punch your ticket to hear directly from physicians on what challenges they’re experiencing in the industry today—helping you to better align your programming.

Bill Friedrich, Market Research Director, M3 Global Research

Xin Yang, Berkeley Cardiovascular Medical Group

Ara Dikranian, San Diego Arthritis Medical Group
Marni Friedman, MD

Download the agenda to see what else is on tap.

Register through Friday for your chance to take advantage of a $200 price break.  Plus, as a reader of this blog, you can save an extra $100 for a total savings of $300.   Register here and use code XP1956BLOG.

This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz

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Pharma Marketing Budgets Up, Where Are They Being Spent?

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According to a report released today by PM360, media partner of ePharma West, the average marketing budget in the pharma space is up 4.7% to $14.7 million.  Don’t let that uptick fool you.  Despite the increase, most feel that they’re still being asked to do more with less.  Of the respondents, 52% indicated that they are not given enough money to remain competitive—a 7% increase from last year.  The survey, based on responses from over 220 product managers in the pharmaceutical (68%) and life sciences (17%) industries, showed that 29% were lucky enough to endure a budget hike this year. 

How is that money being allocated?  According to the survey, largely in the same way it was last year.  Most categories remained steady as far as how much budget they were occupying.  The most significant increase was in personal promotion which was up 4% for the year.  Some of that may be due to the fact that physicians are becoming more difficult to reach and companies are working harder in order to do so. 

Source: PM360

The “personal promotion” category is the biggest piece of the pie, but what if you removed it from the equation?  In terms of non-personal budget allocation, most areas saw a slight downward tick.  Journal advertising, point of care and direct mail were among the group down a few points from last year’s survey.  The biggest year-over-year gain in this category was eMarketing which experienced a 4% bump.  Without factoring in personal promotion, eMarketing actually occupies the biggest part of the budget at 36%.   

We’ll have more on the latest strategies in the areas you’re spending your money at ePharma West including direct to HCP, social media and direct-to-patient. Join us September 22-24 in San Francisco, CA. Download the agenda to see what else is on tap. 

SAVE $100. Register here and use code XP1956BLOG.

This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Social Guidance from FDA, Twitter, & Facebook only at ePharma West

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Social media is a tremendous resource for consumers and practitioners alike.  For patients, it provides resources and communities to answer their questions and alleviate concerns.  For physicians, it provides a place to stay up on industry news.

Are you leveraging these online conversations and interactions with your audience?

You may have hesitated to engage in social media.  Why venture forth and risk getting slapped by regulators or leave yourself open to a communications crisis?  A fair question.  The result is many tiptoeing around social media with no clear boundaries or guidelines.

Are you one of the many looking for some clarity in this area?  Hear directly from the FDA on their new social media guidances and engage with them directly when you attend IIR's ePharma West-- September 22-24 in San Francisco. 

In addition, we will cover social media from all angles including pharma/biotech companies already engaged in social and stakeholders from the most popular consumer social networks:
  • Mark S. Roh, Regional Food and Drug Director, Pacific Region, FDA
  • Greg Birgfeld, Associate Director, Social Media Strategy & Analytics, Onyx Pharmaceuticals
  • Adam Benjamin, Head of Healthcare, Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook
  • Jeremy Anderson, Head of Healthcare, Twitter
  • And more to be announced
Download the agenda to see what else is on tap.

Don't miss this opportunity to get first-hand knowledge on how to best leverage social media to elevate your brand and strategically engage patients.

Your last chance to save $200 on ePharma West is August 22nd. Plus, you can save an extra $100 as a member of this group for a total savings of $300.  Register here and use code XP1956BLOG.

This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz

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Helping Pharma Make the Case for Social Media: Five Points

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For many in pharma, social media is an uphill battle in a number of ways.  An industry teeming with regulatory concerns, many have chosen to err on the side of caution and remain on the social media sidelines.  However, with social increasingly being integrated into marketing campaigns and with regulatory clarity on the way, social media is becoming harder to ignore in pharma.  That said, you may need to be prepared to do some persuading.  Here’s a few points to help out:

You can navigate regulatory restrictions- In the past, uncertainty surrounding social in such a tightly regulated industry has been enough to scare away many brands.  However, now there is at least a semblance of guidelines companies can refer to.  A lack of formal regulations has been a convenient excuse for a few years, but that argument is holding less and less water as the FDA moves towards a formal set of guidances.

Pharma Social Media Reasons Boss Convince SEO benefits- Gone are the days where link building could reliably shoot you up the SEO rankings.  Once Google became hip to companies building out artificial link libraries, they began to look for other ways to index sites.  Now, much of this score relies on “social signals” including how often you post and how many fans you have.  Not convinced?  Your colleagues are.  The far majority, 92%, agree that content is either “effective” or “very effective” for SEO.   

Your customers are using it- To say as a blanket statement that your customers aren’t on social networks is incorrect.  They may not be concentrated on one social site, but they are using them.  In fact, 74% of adults using the internet are on some kind of social network.  While it may be true that in some cases your customers aren’t frequenting Pinterest or Instagram, they are using sites including niche communities and blogs. 

Your competitors are doing it- Employ the scare tactic.  While you continue to ignore social, your competitors are leveraging it.  Even if you’re a pharma company, a group known for being full of social media wallflowers, half of the industry is still using social to market to the customers you want.  While your company decides the time isn't yet right, your competitors are building a following for when the time actually is.  The first mover advantage is a real thing in social.  Don't give your competitors that advantage.

Know your goals- Your boss will likely not be impressed by the number of re-tweets you can secure in a single day.  What might pique their interest are other metrics such as traffic, conversions and inquiries that can be tied to social campaigns.  Some campaigns may not have a goal directly attached to the bottom line (see Pfizer’s latest campaign).  In this case, maybe brand perception surveys and anecdotes prove effectiveness.  The point is, every campaign is different and those goals need to be defined beforehand for both sides to know what success looks like.

We recently discussed some of this with Chuck Davis, Co-Founder and CTO of BehaviorMatrix.  Here are his thoughts:

For pharma marketers who are having a hard time getting approval to create campaigns on social channels, can you tell us how to convince upper management that social media has a positive financial impact?

Chuck: Well, I think that probably the best way to do that is you want to be able to control the perception of your brand. Basically, to allow that to occur on social media without interaction I think is dangerous, especially given the pressures in the market today where it is so critical to be able to control your brand and to be able to understand and impact and influence what is going on. So, in that respect if you don’t do that, it will be done for you in ways that you might not necessarily agree with.

I think that the companies that will be the most competitive will be the ones that come up with very effective strategies for controlling and engaging in digital outreach and doing so in a way that is also compliant. I think that that is, by and large, a pretty compelling argument to make to management for coming up with an effective social campaign.

Download the full interview with Chuck here.

You can hear more from leaders on social media in pharma, including the FDA’s own Mark Roh, at this year’s ePharma West.  Join us September 22-24 in San Francisco, CA. Download the agenda to see what else we’ve got on tap.

SAVE $100. Register here and use code XP1956BLOG.

This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz

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Friday, August 15, 2014

#ePharma Buzz- 8/15

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There were a lot of “Out of office” messages turned on this week.  That said, we understand if you missed a thing or two in the world of #ePharma.  As always, we have it covered and put together a few of the pieces you may want to catch up on from the week that was.
Users engaged more with cancer-focused Facebook pages than other health pages, MobilHealthNews- Aditi Pai (@aditipai) explains the results of a recently published paper dissecting the health information available on Facebook.  A team from Harvard and Stanford took the 20 most searched for health terms on Google and examined the top 50 communities for each condition on Facebook.  In their analysis of the nearly 22 million likes across the group of pages, the team found that a far majority, 86.9%, came from cancer and breast cancer related pages.  Other research has also shown cancer patients to be very active in looking for information online. 

Healthcare Professionals Not Stuck in Stone Age, Use Mobile, eMarketer- Pharma marketers want to reach doctors online, but what devices are they spending their time on? According to eMarketer, physicians are still spending the most time on good old-fashioned computers by a wide margin with 81% using them for professional reasons for at least an hour daily.  The research shows tablet adoption to be lagging in this group with 38% ignoring them altogether.  In case you missed it this week, we've got some more juicy numbers on mobile health for you. 

GSK Re-launches COPD Website, PMLive- We've seen several different digital ventures out of pharma companies including Lilly’s attempt at gamification and Pfizer’s new spin on aging.  Recently, GSK launched a redesigned site aimed to serve as a community for those suffering from the respiratory condition chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  The new site provides interactive tools, testimonials and tips for those dealing with the disease.

Infographic: Primary Care Physicians Use of Digital, advertisinghealth- The million dollar question: Where are doctors spending time online?  As far as Rx brand sites are concerned, the answer is Victoza.  On the company side, if you happen to work for Pfizer, according to this report everyone else is looking up at you in terms of digital capabilities.   

Pharma Digital Marketing Stuck in a Rut- Many would agree with Brian Shields’ (@MrPug94) sentiment that in a lot of respects, pharma marketing is stuck in some of its old ways.  Brian lays out seven reasons why that might be.  Among those reasons: Clogging the same channels.  He writes that of many of the popular channels, ”their effectiveness has decreased over the years with the growth in mobile online viewing and social media. Sadly, you could copy most pharma online ad budgets from 8 years ago and past them into the 2015 planning deck.”

Looking for more than a week’s worth of the latest in digital pharma marketing? Join us at ePharma West, September 22-24 in San Francisco. Download the agenda to see what else is on tap.

Save $100. Register here and use code XP1956BLOG.

This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

mHealth Explained in Facts

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How do patients feel about mHealth?
  • 78% of US consumers are interested in mHealth solutions. (Booz & Co.)
  • Which is part of the reason the U.S mobile health audience (those looking for health information through mobile web or apps) reached 95 million in 2013—Up 27% from the same point a year earlier. (Manhattan Research)
  • 69% of US adults are willing to communicate with providers by email, 49% are interested in communicating via online chat or web portal, 45% by text message and 40% by mobile health applications. (PWC)
  • 46% of people indicated they’re interested in using technologies such as smart phones and tablet applications to manage issues such as blood sugar or breathing function in the future. (Deloitte
  • 75% of Americans said they would check their vitals more often if it meant saving money on insurance premiums. (mHealth News)

What about physicians?
  • 82% of healthcare professionals use a mobile device for professional reasons at least once daily. (eMarketer)
  • 64% of HCPs use medical apps at least monthly. (eMarketer)
  • 37% of physicians have already prescribed an app to a patient. (QuantiaMD)

Most agree: Mobile devices can expedite decision making

The result:
  • Health and wellness apps are growing 87% faster than the app industry as a whole. (Flurry)
  • In terms of year over year mobile spend, the pharma industry led the way with a 491% growth in Q1 2014 versus Q1 2013. (Millenial Media)
  • In 2014, there are projected to be over 100 million eVisits globally resulting in more than $5 billion in savings over face-to-face visits. (Deloitte)
  • The mobile health market is projected to reach $26 billion by 2017. (Mobile Health Market News

How is the industry reacting?
  • More than $750 million in venture capital has been invested in mHealth apps since the start of 2013. (MIT Technology Review)
  • There are over 100,000 mHealth and fitness apps currently available for download. (mHealthWatch)
  • This year, researchers have developed technology capable of measuring heart rate through Wi-Fi signals with 99% accuracy.  This technology has the potential to be used in health tracking apps. (Mobiloitte

  • Only about 7% of people use an app or tool on their phone to track the “health indicator they care about the most”. (Pew Research)
  • 36% of healthcare companies currently have no mobile technology strategy. (Robert Half Technology) 
  • More othan two-thirds who have downloaded a mobile health app have stopped using it. (MIT Technology Review
  • One third of consumers who own wearable health devices stop wearing them after six months. (MobiHealthNews)

What are the issues?
  • Compliance: Only 1 in 1,000 mHealth apps are approved by the FDA. (mHealthWatch)
  • User Experience: Only 28% of physicians report being “very satisfied” with the quality of medical apps currently available (Booz & Co.).  In addition, of this enormous group of health and fitness apps, more than half have generated less than 500 downloads. (iHealthBeat)
  • Data Security: 61% of internet users would stop using their favorite mobile health app if a data breach occurred. (HealthIT Security)

    We'll have more on the latest in digital at this year's ePharma West.  Join us September 22-24 in San Francisco, CA. Download the agenda to see what we've got on tap.

    Now you can SAVE $100.  Register here and use code XP1956BLOG.

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    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

    Success Is The Failure to Quit

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    By Fabio Gratton, Innovation Catalyst for Sonic Health

    When I first started in this industry 17 years ago I was just as naive, ignorant, and arrogant as I am now.

    I was originally hired as temp to act as the typist for one of the partners of a small, southern California boutique healthcare agency that had just been acquired by Bozell Healthcare, which eventually became what is now Draft FCB.  The only real typing I had done up until that point was committing characters and stories to paper for the screenplays I was writing while living and working in Hollywood.

    The story of how I went from Hollywood to Healthcare is better left for another day — as Lemony Snicket would say, it came to be through a series of unfortunate events.

    The specific task I was hired to perform at the agency was rather mindless. The partner had just sold a six-figure "game-changing" idea to one of the agency's biggest clients, a diagnostic imaging company. The revolutionary concept involved doing away with every booth graphic at the company's biggest yearly trade-show and replace everything with twenty-five 42" state-of-the-art Fujitsu gas-plasma screens. While it wasn't the first time a company had used flat-screens at a trade-show, most had used it to show product demos via videos and animations. That wasn't the plan here. They would be projecting content from an interactive CD-ROM that would be controlled by a prospective client visiting the booth, allowing them to navigate the company's wide array of products and services in a multimedia extravaganza.

    In 1997, this was the bleeding edge of innovation. It was the kind of work that could land a company on the front page of “Ad Age”, before digital was a premium vertical.  But there was one problem: The agency had never done this before. In fact, at the time, no one in healthcare had gone "all in" on digital. What eventually became "Flash" was still a year away, and HTML was for browsers, not kiosks. Macromedia Director was the tool du jour, but only hard-core technology companies had the experience and training to compose within its austere authoring tools. Fortunately, the agency's IT team had found a company that would be responsible for stitching the interactive experience together.

    As my 2 week secretarial stint was coming to an end, and after having typed in hundreds of hand-scrawled pages that were thrown at me each morning by the partner — pages that identified "headline", "image", and "body copy" — I turned to him and said, "So, what are you going to do next?". 

    He looked at my quizzically for a moment, then replied "The art dudes are going to lay these out in Photoshop and then we'll give them to the interactive dudes that will put them all together on a CD-ROM". 

    "But how exactly is someone going to go from one page to the next?" I asked. It wasn't meant as a challenge. I have always been an intellectually curious bird, but that bird can sometimes come off as belonging to the assholeius specie.

    "They will point their mouse and click," the partner said as though he were instructing a child at how to turn on a light.

    “I get that," the woodpecker-me persisted, "But how will the interactive dudes know where someone is supposed to go when that person clicks?"

    The partner paused, confused. "I'm not sure I follow."

    "I just think it might help everyone if there's some kind of outline, like a map or storyboard. You know, something that helps everyone know how the whole thing hangs together? And then if there's something missing, it might be easier to spot it."

    The partner slowly nodded, then his eyes lit up like something I said had finally flipped a switch. "That sounds like a pretty good idea. Is that something you think you could help with?”

    He probably never caught my moment of hesitation, which is good because the half-lie I went on to tell is probably responsible for what has now become my entire career.

    "Yeah, sure. No problem. I can do that."

    Of course, I didn't know the first thing about how CD-ROMs worked, how they were programmed, or even what "Information Architecture" was. But I did understand narrative, scenes, sets, characters, and other fundamentals of storytelling. Was this really any different? I had no idea — but I had a sense that neither did anyone else.  I thought to myself: I'm sure I can figure this out.  And I did, and it worked out famously. I went on to get hired, create an interactive division for the firm, and ultimately the partner — my boss — and I went on to become partners in a new agency, which we eventually sold, and the rest is… Well, history still in the making.

    Seventeen years later, my approach to life hasn't changed that much. To be honest, I think I’m really lucky. I’m not referring to the luck that comes from being in the right place at the right time — which I certainly was — but I think I’m most lucky because I grew up in a world before Google — a world where I was allowed to have an idea and not immediately discover that thousands of others had thought it before. This was a world where I could believe I was original just long enough until perhaps I actually became so. 

    These days I meet people smarter than me all the time, and I feel sad for them — because they have access to tools that have allowed them to fully study the statistics of failure, making them far too smart to take the uncalculated cliff-diving risks that people like me blindly take every day. We’re not courageous, we’re just poor listeners — and we’re positively not good at statistics.

    While we ignored much, we didn’t miss this: some of the greatest discoveries were accidents, some of the most successful companies were flukes, and some of the greatest minds of our times are people that, in their lifetimes, were considered the "crazies.”

    So if it’s possible that no one really knows anything, then why should we let the apparent foolishness of our ideas stop us from pursuing them? Or more to the point: Why should we quit when we fail — if maybe all we did was trip?

    I think much of how we live our lives is about having perspective on both the life we’re living, and the world in which we’re living that life.  And I think no one had a better appreciation of these complimentary and competing factors than the late and great Steve Jobs, who deliberately warped the reality of his world to align with his vision of how that world should be. In 1994, when he was only 39 years old and had yet to achieve the monumental accomplishments that would go on to define his legacy, he eloquently articulated a philosophy that I believe captures the sentiment of everything I have attempted to express, but in far fewer words: "Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is – everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you.

    Hear more from innovators in digital pharma at this year's ePharma West.  Join us September 22-24 in San Francisco, CA. Download the agenda to see what we’ve got on tap.

    SAVE $200.  Register here and use code XP1956FG.

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