Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Partnering Pharma Marketing and Non-Profit Public Health

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As a health researcher, it was interesting to me that pharma marketers noted during different presentations today that they were “listening” to client (or potential client) online activity and not yet actively participating or interacting with it (aka not acting on the data quite yet). To me, this means that the presentations reporting on patient, HCP, or client data during the summit are really just the tip of the iceberg, that there are rich stocks of digital data marketers have available and are still gathering.

As a non-profit researcher, this means that there is tons of valuable data out there, already gathered and profiled. Unlike pharma marketers, publically funded researchers like me do not have the capital to invest on data collection on the same level that private pharmaceutical marketers do. So while most of the presentations today say that gathering web-based data is “less expensive” than alternatives, for us publically funded researchers, that level of data collection would often be unattainable despite having the training and expertise to make sense of it.

What will happen to this data? Will we, the monetarily-and-resource-deficient public health researchers ever be able to use it? It was encouraging to hear that most pharma marketers are open to partnerships, but I wholeheartedly hope that this means they are open to partnerships that do not result in revenue but do have a potential to improve health. Sharing data and partnering with public and government funded researchers -- to help supplement or kickstart our own endeavors for health improvement—would be the ultimate partnership. The great potential this volume and quality of data (in its rawest form) has for public health can revolutionize our efforts. In short, my message to pharma as a grant-funded public health researcher would be: let’s partner, let’s share.

Sonia Mendoza is a research coordinator at the New York University Medical Center. You can follow her on Twitter at @SM_23_NYC

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