Friday, January 31, 2014

Which companies can you meet at ePharma 2014?

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One of the benefits of attending ePharma, taking place in less than two weeks, is that you have the opportunity to learn directly from pharma and biotech executives as they share some of their insight into what works. With more than 37 pharmaceutical speakers hailing from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer, Merck, and Ironwood to just name a few, plus dozens of speakers from leading agencies and solution providers, ePharma moves past the buzzwords and gets to the heart of what really works when creating and executing marketing campaigns so you can recreate success.

Better yet, when you register now, you and your company will join the growing list of marketing professionals that will be front and center to tackle innovation head on. Below is just a snippet of the vast companies already confirmed to be at the New York Marriott Marquis on February 10-12th:

Abbott Laboratories * Janssen Biotech * Abelson Taylor * Amgen * Juice Pharma Worldwide * Astellas * AstraZeneca * Klick * Boehringer-Ingelheim * Lundbeck * Bristol-Myers Squibb * Makovsky & Co * Marina Maher Comms * Merck & Company * Celgene * Communispace * Cramer Global * Merck Animal Health * Daiichi Sankyo * Next IT * Depomed * Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide * Drugs com * Oracle * EatingWell * PDR Network LLC * Everyday Health * Pfizer * Ferring International Center SA * Phreesia * Precision Health Media * PSL * Flashpoint Medica * Quality Health * Frontline Medical Communications * Quality Health * Quantia * Galderma Laboratories * Quantia * Galderma Laboratories * Roche * Good Apple Digital

If you'd like to join us, as a reader of this blog, you can save $100 off the current rates when register to join us and mention code XP1906BLOG.    Want to get involved or have any questions? Feel free to email Jennifer Pereira.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Medac Marketing Director Talks Small Pharma

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One-Man Marketing Department Preps for U.S. Product and Company Launch

By Marc Dresner, IIR

So much of our focus in this industry is on Big Pharma that it’s easy to forget that one size does not fit all.

Brian Peters
Brian Peters, senior director of marketing at Medac Pharma, typifies that increasingly common—and underserved—brand of pharma marketer for whom resources and scale make adopting Big Pharma solutions an untenable proposition.

Peters recently sat down with Inside ePharma to discuss being a one-man department preparing to launch a company and a product in the U.S.

In this podcast interview, Peters shared what he looks for in agency partners, along with some tips for peers at other companies who are looking for small pharma solutions in a Big Pharma world.

“I’ve tried to hire an agency with no pharmaceutical experience because we were a smaller company with limited resources. But at the end of the day, you really can’t avoid it.”

Editor’s note: Brian Peters will present more on this topic at the 13th Annual ePharma Summit taking place February 10-12, 2014 in New York City.

For more information or to register, please visit

Marc Dresner is IIR USA's senior editor and special communication projects lead. He is the former executive editor of Pharma Market Research Report, a confidential newsletter for marketing researchers in the pharmaceutical industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Best practices to alleviate FOMO in social media listening for pharma

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Today's post comes from ePharma sponsor Visible.  This post is cross-posted from the Visible blog.

Best practices to alleviate FOMO in social media listening for pharma

Pharmaceutical companies have come a long way when it comes to social media, and most companies
have acknowledged that there are rich consumer insights that can be gleaned. But a lot still suffer from a bad case of FOMO or ‘fear of missing out’ while being inundated by numerous irrelevant and spam posts. This primarily results from the fact that many people in pharma are always unsure of where to start, what to focus on, and how to analyze social media data.

Here are some things to consider when setting up your social listening strategy in 2014:

Key points and questions to help you focus:

  • Recognize that patient discussion is mostly centered on the condition and brand names as opposed to company names.
  • How do consumers refer to the disease? Do they use shortcuts, such as “P” for Psoriasis or “T1DM” for Type 1 Diabetes?
  • Define your competitive set. Are these all focused on a single indication or disease directly competing against your product? If not, what are the conditions or uses that should be removed from the data set?
  • Are you interested in a global view? Do the major brand players have name variations per country?
  • Do we need discussions around clinical trial results, pipeline news, coupon posts and financial news discussion? If we want to focus on pure consumer insights, I suggest that we eliminate these from your view.
  • Is off-label discussion important to you or is this something you’d like to remove from the data set?

Specific pharma tips to alleviate a bad case of FOMO:

  • Know who your key opinion leaders are, know their blogs, their Twitter handles or Facebook accounts, and include their posts in your analysis.
  • What are the forum sites, blog sites and Facebook fan pages that are specifically focused on the relevant diseases or indications? Make sure you pay attention to discussions in these channels.
Pharma companies must consider the following facts, which impact the share-ability of health related information online, such as:

  • Incidence of the disease: This has a direct effect on content volume. If there are more patients afflicted with the disease, there are more posts around this topic. For example, the incidence of Gaucher’s disease is a lot lower than multiple sclerosis and therefore will have less content volume.
  • Age of the patients: Diseases, such as dementia, that afflict older patients who are generally not as social media savvy as the younger ones, will likely have fewer posts than diabetes which afflicts patients in various ages.
  • Sensitivity of the condition: Not all conditions can be easily shared by patients to the public. Some of them are even posted privately in secured forum sites. Expect posts around sensitive diseases to have less content volume.

But it doesn’t end there. Once you have access to the pertinent data, what metrics and KPI’s should be developed to help identify actionable insights and strategies? And how are we going to measure the success of strategies using social media? This year’s ePharma Summit has many social media related topics in the agenda. I’m very excited to see topics like, “Moving Pharma from Social Laggard to Leader,” in the Summit agenda (eMarketing University). Addressing FOMO risk will help pharma move into a leadership role. Hopefully the thoughts above help you focus your social listening strategy.

Would you like to meet Visible at ePharma Summit 2014?  The event will take place in New York City this February 10-12.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1906BLOG, you'll save $100 off the current rate!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pfizer Digital Markitect Talks Emerging Markets, Urges Caution, Experimentation

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Global Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy Lead Reviews Quest to Build Shared Services at World's Biggest Big Pharma

By Marc Dresner, IIR

David J. Ryan
For the past couple of years, Dave Ryan has been busy creating a portfolio of globally consistent shared services around digital marketing and innovative customer engagement for Pfizer.
He sat down with Inside ePharma for a podcast interview recently to discuss the endeavor and share a few lessons learned.
Reconciling the need for consistency—in process and standards—when you’re dealing with heterogeneous developing markets has proved particularly challenging, he says.
“You can’t take it in a Big Bang approach because there are just too many countries. There are too many economies. There are too many payer systems. There really are just too many variables in that experiment,” Ryan told Inside ePharma.
“People have taken for granted that technology and the Internet create deployment where there wouldn’t have been other opportunities”

Compounding the problem, infrastructure—or lack thereof—can present issues that go well beyond the ability to deploy technology.
“People have taken for granted that technology and the Internet create deployment where there wouldn’t have been other opportunities,” said Ryan.
 “If the technology infrastructure is developed and behaviors are under-developed, it doesn’t provide us the opportunities we thought we might have,” he noted.

In this exclusive interview with Inside ePharma, Ryan discusses:
• How Pfizer assesses emerging market opportunities and prioritizes
• What to do when infrastructure isn’t accommodating
• Dealing with the intelligence deficit created when you can’t deploy a sales force
• Why innovative customer engagement sometimes means returning to old school tactics
And much more…

Download a transcript

Editor's note: David Ryan will speak more on the topic of global, shared multi-channel marketing services and emerging markets at the 13th Annual ePharma Summit taking place February 10-12, 2014 in New York City.

For information or to register, please visit

Marc Dresner is IIR USA's senior editor and special communication projects lead. He is the former executive editor of Pharma Market Research Report, a confidential newsletter for marketing researchers in the pharmaceutical industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

6 Degrees of Health Care Separation: How Pharma Needs to Close the Gap

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Today's blog post comes from Jonathan Bush, CEO, athenahealth. He will be a keynote presenter at ePharma Summit on Tuesday, February 11.

6 Degrees of Health Care Separation: How Pharma Needs to Close the Gap 

You’re probably familiar with the concept of six degrees of separation, where everyone in the world is six or fewer connections from any other person. While that’s a fascinating construct, I believe health care delivery is plagued by it.

Here’s what I mean: Six steps to make a connection isn’t bad if you’re linking a tuk-tuk driver in Bangkok to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. But it better take a lot fewer than six steps for a physician to access a necessary resource. Unfortunately, the separation between that doctor and the end goal is expanding. And that’s inexcusable.

In the business of health care, where connectivity is king, the idea of redundant steps to coordinate care—or simply to get the information needed—can be fatal. For business and, potentially, even for patients.

A wide variety of demands in health care has brought a deluge of increased complexity into the already-confusing mix: New government regulations, shifting reimbursement models, pricing pressures and cost controls, an overburdened provider population… all of these have widened the separation between pharma, prescribers, and patients. And an increasing number of acronyms (ACO, ACA, FFS, MCO, PCMH) is creating a barrier between pharma and a healthy revenue stream.

So what happens from here? In my view, something radically better.

I envision a boom in the levels of integration and connectivity across the mHealth and EHR space. Think direct messaging medication adherence services, ways to bring each message as close to the point of decision as possible. It’s every pharma marketer’s dream, and good for providers and patients as well.

With that in mind, here are my thoughts on how to bring you and your prescribers much closer and reading off the same script:

1. Deliver A CURE
“A CURE,” is the central principle that guides our Epocrates medical editors when developing and presenting the proprietary clinical content in our references. It stands for Accurate, Current, Unbiased, Relevant and Essential. Pharma would be well-advised to plaster the walls of your office suites with this acronym, to chant it at corporate outings. Figuring out how to get your product and message across in a non-toxic and contextually relevant manner is the cost of admission to the exam room in this day and age. (For more on the A CURE framework, see “Delivering A CURE for Medical Information Inaccuracy and Overload.”)

Once you apply this concept, even at the most basic level, it’s time to consider ways to close the gap between you and your prescribers.

2. Provide Physicians with Rx and Cost Data
In this new reimbursement landscape, where caregivers can be rewarded for cutting costs and achieving better health outcomes, doctors want answers. And pharma can deliver.

In Accountable Care Organizations, each health care dollar spent is an opportunity to control costs and make money. As a result, doctors are weighing the quality of care versus the economic efficacy of drug treatments: Does this drug work best for this patient profile? What is its long-term economic effectiveness? Will this medication reduce hospitalizations or keep patients coming back?

This is where you can provide a street-level view of what doctors should prescribe — and investigate the impact your drugs have on patients and the bottom line. As more physicians take part in risk-based payment models, that big blockbuster brand from the past may not be the best answer for doctors and their patients today.

If you can show that your drug will lower patient cost over a generic or other brand in the long run, and that fewer healthcare dollars will be spent overall, then you’ve hit the jackpot. This kind of information is pure gold –prescribers are hungry for it, and will pay for it.

3. Add Insight Into Moments of Care
Pharma is now in the business of population health management, like it or not. Once you understand how your drugs impact the total cost of care, you should add your insight directly into the moments of care. Get your intelligence in front of providers and high-prescribers by leveraging your technology partners. Not only do they have access to your target audience, but they are also building better channels with which to reach them.

As a long-time strategic partner and trusted drug resource for doctors, Epocrates has been helping pharma achieve measurable objectives for years by delivering pharma-sponsored content to physicians at the point of care—and doing it in an unobtrusive, contextually relevant way. But the connections can go even deeper.

Imagine your content (that treasure trove of research detailing a drug’s cost-effectiveness) embedded into an interconnected, cloud-based EHR and care coordination service, and woven throughout a clinician’s daily workflow. Even during transitional hours, that content is still working for you via relevant messages integrated into secure text messaging, e-mail, and enhanced provider-provider communication services, addressing extended moments of care where prescribing decisions are also made.

Invest in services and partners who are building channels that can adapt quickly, without the need for hundreds of millions of dollars and countless man hours in HIT expenditure. As a comparative example, cloud-based services can respond and integrate quickly, whereas enterprise software is static, cannot keep pace, and prevents the timely sharing of health information (talk about adding several degrees of separation).

4. Set the Scene for Patient Adherence
Fast-forward. You have given providers what they need to make educated choices and they have chosen you. Now you must ensure that all the right things happen. Enter patient adherence.

Engage, track, and follow up with your prescribers to confirm that your drug works for real patients who live real and complicated lives.

Bottom line: New factors are influencing prescribing decisions. Pharma needs to cut the degrees of separation between the industry and physicians, fill in the gaps, and reintroduce itself to its high-prescribers by giving them what they desperately need—intelligence.

You can read more from Jonathan on the athenahealth CloudView Blog, as well as in the LinkedIn Influencers program.  If you'd  like to join Jonathon this February 10-12 at ePharma, as a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1906BLOG, you'll save $100 off the current rate!

Monday, January 27, 2014

#MedLIVE returns to ePharma 2014

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Have a burning question that you'd like answered by 100 US Physicians? Let us know and you can have it answered at the ePharma Summit! Just tweet us (@ePharma) your question tagged with #MedLIVE.

Again this year, we are teaming up with WorldOne Interactive and leveraging their industry leading FastResponse Market Intelligence platform, MedLIVE™. MedLIVE enables targeting WorldOne's Global Networked Community of over 1.8 million healthcare professionals to receive real-time answers to urgent questions.

Simply Tweet us your question tagged with #MedLIVE before or during the conference.

We will select the best questions and launch MedLIVE PULSES at the conference, targeting responses from US MDs. Real-time MD insights and intelligence will be revealed during general sessions February 11 and February 12 in New York City!

To learn more about MedLIVE, read this white paper or contact If you'd like to join us at ePharma Summit this February 10-12, register to join us and mention code XP1906BLOG to save $100 off the current rate!

Five Things Companies can do Today to Create Better Multichannel Experiences

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Today's blog post comes from Peter Lammers, Vice President, Multichannel Strategy at Veeva Systems. Lammers is a 28 year veteran of the pharma industry with senior leadership roles spanning sales, marketing, and operational areas. During his pharma tenure, a significant focus was placed on advancing digital and multichannel capabilities. Peter is solely focused on working with Veeva’s customers to develop robust multichannel strategies that yield positive outcomes.

Five Things Companies can do Today to Create Better Multichannel Experiences

Co-posted on

At its crux, multichannel is about creating a seamless, integrated experience for customers. Consumers expect information on demand, and the life sciences industry is no exception. Healthcare professionals, pharmacists, and payers want pharma to deliver relevant information and services that they want, when and how they want it delivered. Today, any number of communication methods is available – customers could receive information on their smart phone or tablet, via the web, through a call center, from a rep in-person, or some combination of channels.

The ideal outcome is to be one step ahead of the customer. To answer their questions before they even ask; to meet their present and future needs before they even know what they want. This, of course, is a ways down the road, but there are a few things companies can do today to get on the path. Effective multichannel doesn’t have to be “all or nothing.”

What can a brand do today?
  1. Be brilliant at the basics – Create a basic multichannel campaign, starting with a handful of integrated channels. You don’t need to try to integrate all channels at once, but you do need to get there eventually. Execute a few simple campaigns against your customer segments, monitor, and learn. As you learn and continue to scale, layer on additional channels – pull in your sales efforts, closed loop marketing (CLM) campaigns, and emails.
  2. Focus on your content – In multichannel, content is king. Many times, brands think about content by tactic. To achieve multichannel excellence, you need to think about creating a library of modular content, in a variety of formats, so it can be reused.  
What can organizational leaders do today?
  1. Get roadmap alignment – The organization needs to get aligned on working towards a consistent enterprise-wide multichannel strategy and operating model. Simplify to a common engagement platform and agree upon how you want your organization and brands to mature over time
  2. Standardize –Your organization may react to the “s” word – saying this is going to kill my brands’ creativity and innovation. But this is really about creating a consistent experience. Developing standardized content and templates not only creates consistency for the customer, but it also frees up resources – both dollars and people – to focus on campaign execution or reinvesting in new channels or analytics
  3. Re-examine business processes –Digital content can sometimes take longer to go from concept stage to the end-customer. Many times, the processes that support non-personal channels aren’t optimized for digital, prolonging cycle time. Look for ways to streamline the MLR process and agency utilization.

To learn more, listen to Peter’s podcast or read about Veeva’s multichannel CRM solution.

Veeva Systems will be an exhibitor at this year's ePharma Summit taking place February 10-12, 2014. As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1906VEEVA, you'll save 15% off the current rate!

Friday, January 24, 2014

The benefits of social listening for pharma companies

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Today's post comes from ePharma sponsor Visible.  This post is cross-posted from the Visible blog.

The benefits of social listening for pharma companies

There are great opportunities for pharma companies to accelerate innovation and build community through social media. One of the most beneficial tactics of implementing a social media program is listening. That may sound simple, but listening provides invaluable insight into your online audience and target market. Ignoring your online audience will force a loss in market share. When you listen to conversations happening online you will find that people are not typically speaking about adverse events, but rather they are seeking support and sharing information on lifestyle, experiences and tips.

Fear not: Industry research has shown that adverse event reporting is a small percentage of all social conversation on pharma topics. Knowing this, it is critical for pharma companies to make a concerted effort to listen because the majority of the conversations can be a very powerful third-party endorsement.

For example, someone seeking to live a gluten-free lifestyle might look for tips on where to shop, seek knowledgeable references for the best bread and pastas to buy, and learn how to make the lifestyle changes necessary to succeed. The more serious the illness or permanent the condition, the more knowledge is sought. And just like consumers who seek out sites such as ‘Trip Advisor’ or ‘Angie’s List’ for “in the know” insight, people are looking for advice from those they feel do not have a vested financial interest behind their message (like brand or product advertising).

Also, if a blogger shares how a specific medication helped them, that person’s words carry more weight when they recommend the drug to others. In nearly every instance of people commenting on social channels about how a drug made them feel, other people are responding on how they managed their symptoms or countered a negative report by sharing their positive experience with the drug. By doing so, they are essentially providing support for the product—valuable “endorsements” that the company itself did not write. This is why becoming a skilled online listener is important for every pharma brand attempting to gain insight about consumer’s opinions in the social sphere.

By listening and understanding what customers are saying online, it is also much easier to understand issues before they escalate, realize opportunities to innovate, and proactively provide information to address concerns. As a result, your tactics will build an advocacy program that protects your reputation and leverages public support in good times and in bad.

With social listening mastery, your company can gain insight into ideas for new products and campaigns, identify and create new advocates, and understand market needs to gain insight into what people are saying about competitors’ products. It provides the opportunity not only to educate your customers, but to be educated by them.

Bottom line: There is great value in learning more and being connected to your community in a vibrant two-way conversation.

To learn more, read our social report, “Investing in Social Media: Weighing Risk vs Return for Pharma Companies.”

Would you like to meet Visible at ePharma Summit 2014?  The event will take place in New York City this February 10-12.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1906BLOG, you'll save $100 off the current rate!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Last Chance for Savings + Fun & Unique Networking at ePharma 2014

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It’s more than just sessions and insights from the industry’s best and brightest.

When you attend ePharma on February 10-12 in New York City, you not only benefit from cutting-edge content and insights from the leading minds in the game, you also get 9+ hours of dedicated networking time to mix and mingle with attendees, speakers, and exhibitors. Hailing from pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies, agencies, and technology and solution providers, the ePharma Summit is the event where you'll find the best cross-industry mix of digital marketing gurus, leaders and newbies. Here are just a few of the main networking opportunities at ePharma: Jeremy's Heroes Morning Bootcamp Charity and the Opening Night Networking Reception with the Refills band!  Download the agenda to see all the opportunities you'll have to mix and mingle at this year's event.

This is also your last opportunity to take advantages of the savings before prices go up after Friday, January 25. Don’t forget, as a reader of this blog, you can save $100 off these low rates when you register to join us and mention code XP1906BLOG.

Want to get involved or have any questions? Feel free to email me at

And don't forget to book your hotel! By popular demand, we have extended the special hotel rate of $249/night + tax at the New York Marriott Marquis through Thursday, January 30th. For full venue contact information and to book your hotel reservation, click here.  When reserving your hotel room, mention IIR's ePharma.

The Changing Face (to-Face) of Pharmaceutical Sales

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Today's post comes from ePharma Summit speaker Andrew Watson, Associate Vice President, Sales & Marketing at Wockhardt USA. He will be presenting The Doctor Will “See” You: Bridging the Gap Between Doctors and Pharma on Tuesday, February 11.

The face of pharmaceutical sales continues to change. Today’s pharmaceutical sales representatives face an ever-changing medical office dynamic: A growing percentage of rep visits end without the sales representative ever getting face-to-face with a physician, and an increasing number of doctor offices are designated “no see.” Nonetheless, healthcare professionals continue to want fresh, relevant scientific data enabling them to deliver the best possible care to their patients.

By leveraging the latest technology, virtual sales representatives are able to communicate with difficult-to-reach healthcare professionals and provide them with access to the same product information, insurance data, and samples as their traditional colleagues. At the upcoming ePharma Summit, I’ll be speaking on vRep SM --an innovative program that allows a pharmaceutical sales representative the ability to demonstrate—face-to-face—the latest product information without intruding on a busy medical office.

How It Works
The vRep experience begins with the sales team contacting target healthcare providers, identified through a sales target list. Once a representative speaks with a healthcare provider, they schedule an appointment that works with their busy schedules. After the detail is scheduled, the vRep team coordinates the shipment of materials and any additional logistics. At the designated time, the virtual sales representative connects with the healthcare provider, initiates an engaging and dynamic discussion regarding efficacy, safety data and fair balance—all while adhering to compliance standards.

Once the relevant messages are communicated, the virtual sales representative can also answer insurance questions, assist in ordering samples and coordinate delivery of patient educational resources. Upon completion of the vRep experience, a convenient follow-up meeting is scheduled to answer any additional questions that may come up during the healthcare provider’s experience and to continue to build a relationship with the doctors and their staff.

My Experiences and Success With vRep
In my position as AVP of Sales & Marketing at Wockhardt USA, my goal is to engage the marketplace through both traditional and innovative channels.

I started the Bromfed® DM (brompheniramine 2 mg, dextromethorphan 10 mg, pseudoephedrine 30 mg) vRep Pilot Program in the beginning of 2013, and it was a success right from the start. Many of my sales targets are considered “white-space” providers—healthcare professionals who practice in areas that have no contact with sales representatives because of geographic constraints or other reasons. Considering the costs of traditional face-to-face contact with this audience and the positive results already demonstrated, I realize that choosing vRep to help me sell Bromfed DM was a good decision, as customer after customer has committed to prescribing Bromfed DM to the appropriate patient population. I am happy with the impact this initiative is generating, working in concert with the Bromfed DM Instinctive Data program, and intrigued to see how much continued success the vRep Program can bring to ensure Bromfed DM remains the #1 prescribed medication in its class.

Based on these results, more brand managers need to face, and embrace, the new technologies offered to them if they want to be successful in today’s changing marketplace.

Would you like to join Andrew at the ePharma Summit this February 10-12 in New York City?  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1906BLOG, you'll save $100 off the current rate!  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2014: the year of “Healthwear”

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Today's post comes from Bill Drummy. He is the CEO, Heartbeat Ideas & Heartbeat West.

It’s been predicted before (pretty much every year for the last five years or so) but this year it may finally be real: The explosion of intelligent, health-oriented devices may have reached escape velocity, propelling this trend into industry-shifting orbit.

Among the biggest stories coming out of last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is the proliferation of health-oriented “wearables” (time for a new name: “Healthwear”) – devices that monitor your well-being while either attached to your clothing or (soon) serving as clothing themselves.

Fitbit, Jawbone, and Nike have had products on the market since the Bush Administration, but this year, in addition to major upgrades of their own devices, they have been joined by a slew of competitors, big and small. Here is what is sure to be an incomplete list of the newest entrants:

  • Garmin Vivofit
  • iFit Active
  • Lumo Lift
  • LG Lifeband Touch
  • Misfit Wearables Shine
  • Polar V800
  • Sony Core
  • Withings Pulse

Most of these devices offer what have become ”the basics:” movement tracking, calorie counting and sleep monitoring. While a few are adding more ambitious features: Heart rate monitoring (Garmin Vivofit and Withings Pulse) and even posture awareness (Lumo Lift). As the category continues to expand, the biggest challenge may be coming up with a clever name that isn’t already taken (the Apple iObsess, anyone?)

And on the horizon lurk powerful, “single purpose” devices that track critical health measures more precisely: iHealth Lab has announced a set of three wearables: a blood pressure monitor, an ECG and a Pulse Oximeter. And by far the cutest single purpose device yet conceived is the frog-shaped Mimo Baby Monitor, which measures your bundle of joy’s respiration, pulse and body temperature and sends the vitals to your mobile app, enabling anxious parents to sleep (or leave home for a relationship-saving date night) in peace.

So now that healthwear is all the rage (even competing with motorized skateboards and 4K Televisions for geeky attention at CES), the question becomes—can practical use can be made of them by patients and professionals? And is there a role to play for pharma, biotech and med device companies?

The answer to both questions is an emphatic “yes”, and some companies are already trying on healthwear to see if it makes a good strategic fit. A few years back, Sanofi partnered with Misfit Wearables founder and CEO Sonny Vu in the development of its iBG Star blood glucose meter. We here at Heartbeat have been involved in the development of several apps that tie wearable health technologies to mobile interfaces. (Of course, if I reveal anything more about this the wearable confidentiality device strapped to my navel will explode.)

But I will say this: In categories like CNS, diabetes and autoimmune disease, the potential for devices that can “read” the patient’s symptoms (without the patient having to “do” anything) and translate traces of that experience to their doctor is truly astonishing. Think of it as the next generation of embedded intelligence.

So as 2014 kicks into high gear, we are racing rapidly toward the day when we will live among the “internet of things.” In such a world, at least some of these “things” will be “healthwear” -- devices can help advance our society a long way toward the goal of making each of us more self-aware, and better able to manage our own well-being.

Heartbeat Ideas is a sponsor of ePharma Summit 2014.  If you'd like to meet them this February 10-12, 2014 in New York City at the event, as a reader of this blog, when you register for the event and mention priority code XP1906BLOG, you'll save $100 off the current rate.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Should Old Acquaintances Be Forgot: Remembering Email Marketing in the New Year

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About today's guest blogger:  As a Director of Strategy at Evolution Road, Brandi Ascione brings her clients more than 15 years of experience and a history of achievement in digital marketing and strategic planning. She will be co-presenting Email Marketing to Consumers and Healthcare Professionals: Key insights and best practices to get the best return on investment from your marketing dollars during the ePharma Pre-conference Summit on Monday February 10th.

Should Old Acquaintances Be Forgot: Remembering Email Marketing in the New Year

The past decade was a time of exponentially growing opportunities in digital healthcare consumer marketing. Unfortunately, however, declining budgets are now forcing most of us to balance our traditional well performing tactics with some decidedly lower-cost innovations. Tell me if the following mix looks familiar: paid search, a well-targeted but over-priced display campaign, maybe a custom center on WebMD or EveryDay Health, a sprinkle of the creative agency’s social flavor-of-the-week (no doubt still in MLR), and, last but not least, a mobile-friendly website (also still in MLR). Did I miss anything? Oh, wait. Yes I did.

Remember our old pal email? Sure, it seems boring compared with the latest technology bling, but it remains an incredibly effective tool to reach our target consumers nonetheless. Email engages them with some of the good old-fashioned content they’re looking for while achieving our objectives–driving awareness, conversion, and retention. And did I mention it is proven effective and fairly cost efficient? The times may be changing but they couldn’t be better for rekindling our relationship with this trusted friend.

Let’s be clear. I’m not necessarily talking about the relationship marketing email campaigns that made your head spin with their expensive databases and highly segmented variations (also still stuck in MLR). Instead I’m thinking a bit broader: data warehousing–cost efficient and targeted list rentals at 40 cents per participant. Or third-party email sponsorship like the RealAge Health Guide Series or the Quality Health Ask Your Doctor program, which are highly targeted and well known industry performers. Such campaigns don’t require large internal investments yet there’s a good chance they drive positive ROI. And, depending on the category, they can scale. What more could we ask? Welcome home, old friend.

Let’s not stop there, though. Email doesn’t run itself and it still has to cut through the clutter, right? Time to optimize.

How? If you Google “email optimization,” you’ll get 81 million results. Be more specific and enter “pharma email optimization” and still get nearly a million. That’s clutter about cutting through the clutter. My advice, on the other hand, is simple and straight forward: recognize and work on the areas that can make the biggest impact in performance then test what works for you.

  • Target. Work with your internal database teams and external vendors to get as close to your target audience as possible (e.g., diagnosed and treating with competitive product), then layer in less targeted populations as you scale (e.g., diagnosed but not treating or diagnosed with a co-morbid condition)
  • Negotiate cost. Work closely with your agency to get the lowest cost per participant.
  • Get people to open your email by testing subject lines. Also, consider the sender line.
  • Get people to read your email by making the content relevant. (Often said, seldom done) Don’t make them download the images to see what you have to say. Say something in the email. And don’t forget the 30% to 50% who will open it on their mobile device.
  • Get people to click through to your website. Put the primary call-to-action above the fold. Don’t make it an image.
  • Don’t worry if they don’t click. The email itself may have been enough to drive action.
Then, when you’re all done, don’t forget to measure how it worked. Chances are you’ll keep your old friend around for a while. Who knows? You may wind up introducing him to your new friends.

Want to know more about ePharma?  Download the agenda.  If you'd like to join Raj, as a reader of this blog when you register to join us February 10-12, 2014 in New York City, you can save $100 off the current rate when you mention priority code XP1906BLOG.  Have any questions or want to get involved? Email Jennifer Pereira.

Friday, January 17, 2014

FDA gives the green light to UGC

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Today's blog post comes from Matthew Arnold, Principal Analyst of Manhattan Research.

The FDA’s long-awaited (four years-plus in the making?) first draft guidance on pharma use of social media is striking in its brevity, weighing in at just seven pages, and leaves a number of important topics yet to be addressed – but it answers the most important question for the industry in the social space.

It says: Okay, we recognize the impossibility of submitting promotional materials with real-time components “at the time of initial dissemination,” per the requirements of the 75-year-old FD&C Act. Yes, you can engage consumers interactively through social media. You can turn comments on. The agency won’t regard user-generated content on your site to be promotion (provided that they’re not company-sponsored sock puppets, of course), and you don’t have to submit a Form 2253 or 2301 to OPDP every time you respond to a commenter (rather, monthly submissions will do).

The draft guidance also draws clearer lines around what content companies “own,” in FDA’s eyes (companies are not responsible for third-party content on sites they support only financially, but if they have any influence on that content – editorial review privileges, for example – it’s regarded as promotion). But it says content created by “third parties acting on behalf of the firm,” including not just agency execs but bloggers and physician speakers paid by pharmas, must be submitted, and that companies should be transparent about these potential conflicts of interest.

Among the topics addressed in the agency’s hearings on pharma interactive promotion four years ago that were left unaddressed in this draft guidance: how to present fair balance info in space-constricted formats such as Twitter and paid search; and whether companies are responsible for correcting misinformation about their products online.

Bullet-pointed TLDR version:

  • User-generated content on pharma properties will not be regarded as promotion, provided that the user “has no affiliation with the firm and the firm has no influence on the UGC (User-Generated Content).”
  • For open-access pharma sites with real-time or interactive components (comments sections, live chat, etc.), companies may submit a monthly form and do not need to submit screenshots of every communication (for restricted sites, pharmas must submit all relevant UGC).
  • Companies are responsible for promotional activity or communication on sites they control or influence. “Influence” may be limited to editorial/preview/review privilege over content or suggestions on placement of promotional messages.
  • However, third-party sites that are merely supported financially by pharmas (for example, through an unrestricted educational grant) do not fall under FDA’s purview.
  • Online communications by bloggers, MSLs and KOLs acting on a company’s behalf are considered promotion and must be submitted.

And here’s some smart takes from the Policy and Medicine blog, FiercePharma, MM&M, Dose of Digital and PMLive. Expect more draft guidances on these topics as a Congressionally-mandated summer deadline for FDA action approaches.

Want to join Manhattan Research at the ePharma Summit?  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1906BLOG, you can save $100 off the current rate!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A message from Pete Dannenfelser, Co-Chair, 2014 ePharma Summit

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ePharma Summit Co-Chair Pete Dannenfelser would like to share this message with the ePharma Summit blog.

Pete Dannenfelser,
ePharma Co-Chair
I want to personally invite you and your team to join me at ePharma Summit—the leading pharma marketing event—taking place on February 10-12th in the heart of New York City.

I'm Pete Dannenfelser, the ePharma Co-Chair and the Director of Marketing - Digital North America at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. I've co-chaired this event for the past couple years, and think that this truly is THE event for our industry. I think ePharma provides a great balance of inspiring keynote presentations and high-level panels, plus tactical case studies that provide you with skills you can implement the next week. After attending ePharma in the past, I feel like I have a better understanding of what I can do now to improve our 2014 marketing plan, but also what I should be thinking about for the upcoming years. This year, I'm especially looking forward to discussing the digital opportunities specifically for healthcare professionals.

More than 550 industry players, including brand managers, digital marketers and business strategists will establish strategies, standards, and best practices for marketing pharmaceuticals over the course of three jam-packed days. This year's comprehensive agenda includes three pre-conference options, three customizable tracks, tens of case studies that have never been presented before, and unlimited opportunities to network with colleagues and business partners. Plus, you'll have the chance to see me play the bass if you attend the networking reception on Monday evening!

Don't miss this chance to be a part of the year's biggest meeting!

As a reader of this blog, you can save $100 off the current rate when you use priority code XP1906BLOG when you register to join us this February. 

I look forward to welcoming you at the event next month.

Best Regards,

Pete Dannenfelser
2014 ePharma Summit

Bridging the Gap Between Doctors and Pharma

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Today's blog post comes from Tim Slevin, the CEO of Healthcare Data Solutions. Healthcare Data Solutions will be an exhibiitor at this year's ePharma Summit taking place February 10-12, 2014.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1906BLOG, you'll save $100 off the current rate!

According to New York Times medical writer Dr. Pauline Chen, doctors-in-training are averaging eight minutes per patient each day. Physicians who at one point desired to focus all their attention on people’s health needs are now torn between face-to-face patient time and the demands of paperwork. How can pharmaceutical marketers communicate with today’s doctor who already parses time between patients and papers?

A Race to the Patient

A physician’s priority within a 12-hour (or more) shift is safe and effective patient care. Government regulations, residency restrictions and electronic medical records are seen by the doctor as hurdles, and their entire shift is spent racing to get back to their patients. The time-constricted provider doesn’t have extra moments to spend on what’s available, only on what’s productive and efficient. Today’s healthcare provider has precious few minutes to review the entire pharmaceutical industry’s product offerings. Physicians are equipped and surrounded by hundreds of brands in their place of work, but the focus always remains the same: safe and effective patient care. Pharmaceutical reps can grab the time-conscious doctor’s attention by promoting their product as imperative to the patient’s health, instead of interruptive to the doctor’s day.

Digital Age

Digital information through mobile apps has become the modern stethoscope, and represents one source of communication that is with a physician all day. Doctors are increasingly turning to the internet for quick references. As marketers, we provide the physician with information that enhances the quality of care they deliver among their patients. Creating digital marketing that aligns EMR with product guidance can help execute pharma brand strategies. Advertising within social media networks by turning longer campaigns into quick online clips or podcasts can serve to further brand awareness, and reach this busy audience.

Pharmaceutical marketing efforts provided through timely and mobile-friendly channels can serve to bridge the gap between physicians and pharma.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Adverse event reporting: What pharmaceutical companies need to know

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Today's post comes from ePharma sponsor Visible.  This post is cross-posted from the Visible blog.

Adverse event reporting: What pharmaceutical companies need to know

Too often we hear from pharmaceutical companies that they see the benefits of social media, but they are resistant to adopting it because of an underlying fear about the legal risks, which are typically associated with Adverse Event Reporting (AER). In a heavily regulated industry and with millions of conversations happening online – from blogs and forums to Twitter and Facebook – it’s a logical fear for pharma companies to assume they are opening themselves up to problems.

But let’s look a little closer. As pharma companies know, there are four very specific criteria that must be met in order to constitute filing a report with the FDA. If a report does not contain all four elements, it will be returned as insufficient. The FDA’s four parameters for submitting information about adverse experiences are:

  • Identifiable reporter
  • Identifiable patient
  • An adverse event or fatal outcome
  • A suspect drug or biological product

“In other words, if any of these basic elements remain unknown after being actively sought by the applicant, manufacturer, or licensed manufacturer, a report on the incident should not be submitted to the FDA because reports without such information make interpretation of their significance difficult, at best, and impossible, in most instances,” according to the FDA and US Department of Health and Human Services.

When you look more closely at conversations happening online you will find that people are not typically speaking about adverse events, but rather they are seeking support and sharing information on lifestyle, experiences and tips. In order to get to the bottom of the realities of adverse events in social media, Visible Technologies recently tracked 224 pharmaceutical brands, then collected and analyzed more than 257,000 posts across social media sites during a 30-day period.

Some of the key findings include:

• 0.3 percent of all posts contained an adverse event (AE) experience.

• Only 14 percent of posts that contained an AE had an identifiable name and contact method to enable pharmaceutical marketers to fill out required paperwork.

• On average, during the 30-day period, each brand received a total of three posts that met the requirements for AE reporting.

With these findings, pharma companies can rest assured that the benefits and opportunities of engaging in online conversations far outweigh the negatives. Yes, there will be the occasional adverse event that will require reporting. But that is certainly not enough reason to avoid it all together and miss out on the chance to build a community among customers and cultivate brand advocates.

To learn more, read our social report, “Adverse Event Reporting in Social Media.”

Would you like to meet Visible at ePharma Summit 2014?  The event will take place in New York City this February 10-12.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1906BLOG, you'll save $100 off the current rate!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A storm of personal data is coming…are you ready?

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Today's post comes from ePharma Summit speaker Raj Amin, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, Mana Health.  He will be participating in the Use Big Data to Provide Connected Health & the Right Care at the Right Time to Improve Patient Outcomes on Wednesday, February 12.

At CES 2014, 40 percent more floor space has been dedicated to digital health exhibitors this year than in 2013. This includes many sensor tech companies that are acquiring data that describes our digital selves. For example, LG Electronics is introducing a fitness band, Reebok is showcasing a skullcap with sensors, and startups like Lively and ZamZee are releasing solutions for the elderly and for children respectively. This quantified-self movement has been heavily funded but is really still in its infancy.

As the technology has moved toward commoditization, it will be increasingly included in devices that we already own. For example, both Apple and Samsung have included technology into their latest phones that includes advanced motion sensing technology. Apple even has a new patent on an integrated heart rate sensor (read more here).  Apple’s M7 co-processor allows efficient motion detection and is now integrated with the FitBit mobile app removing the need for a special purpose device - a smart move. Why? Because the future won’t necessarily be about winning on the device side, it will be about how you use the enormous amount of data that is being generated by people to describe themselves in new ways. Individuals will want help managing the data, providing access to their data and using it for custom applications that align to their specific needs. This is where healthcare industry players should focus their energy. How are you planning to plug in to this ecosystem? What data will you help your customers acquire or will you ask them for access to their data as it is generated so that you can provide them a valuable service?

For pharma, I’m enthusiastic about both the creation of mobile services that utilize these new data acquisition technologies, and also about the use of this aggregate data to unlock new knowledge that aligns R&D and marketing goals. I for one am excited for this storm of data to be here, and luckily I brought my umbrella.

More about Raj:
Raj Amin (@DigitalRajNYC), a digital marketing guru, is involved in two businesses that are innovating in the area of health data management and mobile marketing that play into this landscape. He is the CEO at OysterLabs, a mobile marketing technology company that offers a platform for analytics/CRM platform for mobile and Executive Chairman and Co-Founder at Mana Health, a data-driven healthcare company that is rapidly changing the way patients and doctors interact with data. Both companies focus on creating tools to help marketers and individuals manage their data in useful ways. To view more of his thoughts about big data and digital marketing, please visit his blog at

Want to know more about ePharma?  Download the agenda.  If you'd like to join Raj, as a reader of this blog when you register to join us February 10-12, 2014 in New York City, you can save $100 off the current rate when you mention priority code XP1906BLOG.  Have any questions or want to get involved? Email Jennifer Pereira.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Session Spotlight: Hello, Your Customers Have Changed: Do You Know Who They Are, What They Need and How to Get Their Attention?

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As the healthcare industry as a whole has continued to adapt in response to Healthcare Reform, new care delivery models, and an increased focus on quality, there are new customer bases that you should connect with to increase filled prescriptions. At last year’s ePharma, we discussed how payers and ACOs are having greater control over what gets prescribed, and at ePharma 2014 we’ll continue the discussion with payers and ACOs, but also look at new customer bases, including PBMs. Additionally, you’ll learn how to provide valuable content to all customers—consumers, HCPs, payers, PBMs and others to ensure your medication is on formulary and gets prescribed.  Today, we feature the session Hello, Your Customers Have Changed: Do You Know Who They Are, What They Need and How to Get Their Attention?

Featured Session: 
Hello, Your Customers Have Changed: Do You Know Who They Are, What They Needand How to Get Their Attention?

Featured speakers:
Moderator: Sanjay Pingle, President, Physicians Interactive Panelists:
Laura Randa, Director, Vaccine Payer Strategy, GlaxoSmithKline
Jordan G. Safirstein, FACC, FSCAL, Interventional Cardiologist
Sumit Dutta, MD, MBA, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Catamaran
Randy Krakauer, MD, National Medical Director - Medicare, Aetna
Adam Pellegrini, Divisional Vice President, eHealth, Walgreen Co.

About the session:
With payers’ increased control over prescriptions, tighter margins and new care delivery models, there are new customers on the horizon. As these new customers have increasingly more power over whether your product gets purchased and used, these new audiences are going to be playing a bigger role in the future. Learn what they need from pharmaceutical companies, and how you can cost efficiently bridge the gap.

For more information about this session and the rest of the program, download the brochure.

ePharma Summit will take place this February 10-12, 2014.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1906BLOG, you're eligible to save $100 off the current rate*.  For maximum savings, register today.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

How would you rate the pharmaceutical industry’s performance on the digital front?

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Today, we start taking an in-depth look at the Inside ePharma Podcast we recently conducted with ePharma speaker Jordan Safirstein, Interventional Cardiologist, Morristown Medical Center, Atlantic Health Systems. Today, he answers the question:

As a physician, how would you rate the pharmaceutical industry’s performance on the digital front?

His answer:
Dr. Jordan Safirstein
Well, I feel like pharma could be doing a better job, particularly as it pertains to patient education. We know pharma’s resources are pretty expansive and it seems like a great deal of their resources are directed in terms of how they help medical intervention. Most of their resources seem more directed toward physicians and assisting physicians in providing their patients with vouchers, sometimes educating the physicians, providing the physicians with the latest literature, etc. But, I feel like there is a lot more they could do in terms of helping patients with compliance, educating patients about their disease state and not just the medication that they are taking.  
And I feel like the widespread use of mobile devices by patients and physicians alone gives them an excellent vehicle to create more useful—most likely free applications and digital interventions—that can help patients not just take their medications better, but perhaps take them with more knowledge. This would also take some of the burden off the physician and alleviate the need for the physician to directly hand a coupon by perhaps providing an app or a website where patients can go directly to that app or that website and access cheaper education and information about the medications. 

Jordan will be a part of the Thought Leader panel Hello, Your Customers Have Changed: Do You Know Who They Are, What They Need and How to Get Their Attention?.  For more information on his session and the rest of the program, download the agenda.

ePharma Summit will take place February 10-12, 2014 in New York, New York.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1906BLOG, you'll save $100 off the current rate!  Lowest prices of the season expire this Friday, January 10.  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Innovation: 8 New Angles to Consider

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Today, we feature another QuickWin video from ePharma Summit 2014 Keynote Speaker Lisa Bodell. In this session, she encourages us to push towards innovation beyond just new products and services.  Watch the video to find out some of the other opportunities for innovation including new business models, brand experiences and more.

Watch the video here:

Lisa will be joining us this February at the ePharma Summit to present the keynote Kill the Company: End the Status Quo and Start an Innovation Revolution to share other tips and trips to becoming an innovative company and how you can become the innovation driver in your corporation. For more information on Lisa's presentation and the rest of the program, download the agenda.  If you'd like to join us, as a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP1906BLOG, you're eligible to save up to $100 off the current rate!  Lowest rates of the year expire Friday, January 10.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Future of Mobility, Multi-screen and Cross Screen Engagement

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Today's post comes from Mark Bard at Digital Insights Group (DIG). The company recently hosted a virtual roundtable of industry thought leaders from pharma, device, technology, and publishers. The conversation touched on the rapid proliferation of devices, how mobility is changing how physicians consume content throughout the day, and how pharma companies are realigning their brands and organizations to adapt.

Three Key Takeaways for 2014 (and beyond)

#1 Time Shift Creating Opportunities: For most physicians today, the extension of digital beyond the desktop is not a zero sum game. Rather, the extension of content to a mobile device is creating value for most physicians seeking to optimize the balance and shift time from paper to digital and desktop to mobile. The innovations over the past 5 years with regard to synced content and the seamless transitions enabled by cloud content are creating opportunities for physicians to save valuable time during the day; thus spurring increased demand for services to complement – not replace – the existing digital behaviors of physicians today.

#2 Awaiting Digital Differentiation and Pharma SaaS: We are still waiting for the “Digital Pfizer” (or equivalent). Pfizer shook up the industry years ago with their outsized investment in the field force with a “many-to-one” approach as a primary driver and source of competitive advantage. As companies and brands seek to differentiate in an increasingly competitive and fragmented market – and attempt to move “beyond the pill” as the only product offering – a handful of innovative companies (or one really innovative company) will start to make outsized investments in technology and serve as an industry leader with the new paradigm of “one-to-one” engagement. Given the desire of most industry participants to follow as opposed to lead, the early success of the di
gital pioneers (on a larger scale than isolated pilot projects) will spur a new wave of companies to rethink their commercial model (again) and move from ideation to rapid iteration.

#3 Embrace Change and Follow the Customer’s Lead: It’s not about “mobile” per se – it’s about being where the customer is today and anticipating where they will be in the near future. The extension of digital consumption, creation, and transactions beyond the desktop is not about the device – it’s about understanding the natural flow of behavior and learning how mobile is complementing existing behavior. The rapid emergence and proliferation of mobile devices is more about the market demand for portability and computing power in the palm of the hand than it is about a specific screen resolution, screen size, or form factor. If physicians embrace smart glasses or smart watches down the road – the goal is to better understand where the market is headed, better understand how to deliver the optimal experience today (based on existing technology), yet also plan ahead for a market where technology is designed for obsolescence. The only constant in emerging technology – including mobile – is change.

To read about these trends (and more) please visit the following link to download the complete roundtable discussion:

Mark Bard will be hosing the The Future of Mobility, Multi-screen and Cross Screen Engagement
 A Virtual Roundtable Discussion with Industry Thought Leaders panel  with panelists Craig DeLarge — Global Leader, Multichannel Marketing Strategy & Innovation at Merck
; Erik Hawkinson — Global Head of Strategic Marketing at Roche Diagnostics
; Lisa Flaiz — Group Product Director, Digital Marketing at Janssen
; Kim Levy — Vice President, Strategic Solutions at Epocrates
 and Bob MacAvoy — Senior Vice President at Doximity.  ePharma Summit will take place February 10-12, 2014 in New York, New York.  As a reader of this blog,when you register to join us and mention code XP1906BLOG, you can save up to $100 off the current rate*.  Lowest rates for the year are available through this Friday, January 10.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Health Care Reform – How Will it Affect Pharma?

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Today, we feature a post from ePharma Summit Media Partner PharmaVoice.

Health care reform in the U.S. does not come easily or without great effort. We’ve had five major instances of reform in the last 50 years.

1965: Medicare
1985: COBRA
1996: HIPAA
1997: SCHIP
2010: PPACA

It’s not a reach to conclude that the first four instances have been successful. This gives one hope that the current wave of reform will also be looked upon favorably by future generations. We have a lot of work to do before we can be comfortable with that prediction.

The PPACA, often referred to as “Obamacare” has been hotly contested by the partisan political parties since it was proposed.

Proponents see many benefits to our residents. Access to healthcare is the most obvious one. Millions of people who could not afford health care will be part of the new system. Another big one is that there can be no refusal/cancellation of benefits due to a pre-existing medical condition. This is huge for millions of people.

Opponents bring many issues to the table, which point to some of the problems with the PPACA. Participation is mandatory for those without other coverage, or the non-participants will be fined. Coverage for unnecessary components is required, such as maternity coverage for couples who can’t or will never have any more children. The inability to continue seeing ones’ current doctors, as promised, is a big sticking point. Higher premiums compared to ones' prior plan is also mentioned by residents.

A faulty website( is not helping the transition into the new health care regime. Applications are way below predictions, and certain targets must be met for the system to work. But if the website is fixed, the numbers may improve throughout the application period.

It is estimated that the number of uninsured residents will be reduced by 32 million. This may place a heavy burden on those who have already been covered by health plans, as the new participants may have to be subsidized by all participants. 32 million new participants could be a tremendous boon for
Pharma. That’s 32 million people who may not have been able to afford the appropriate prescription medication in the past. That’s quite a boost to the existing market.

How will the future view the current health care reform policies? Will Pharma benefit? We won’t truly know until we get there, but we still have opportunities to make an impact on whether it is a smooth transition or a very bumpy ride.

We’d like to know what you think. Please tweet your thoughts and opinions using hashtag #hcreform, and participate in an ongoing discussion. Feel free to leave your comment under this blog post as well.