Monday, October 17, 2016

Big Pharma talks Payer and Patient Engagement at PSA 2016

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On September 28-30th, during the course of our annual three-day Pharmaceutical Strategy Conference (PSA) conference, over 120 biopharma’s top strategists gathered at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, in New York City, to partake in meaningful discussions on the industry’s latest trends in deal-making, innovation, R&D, commercial and reimbursement strategies. Most importantly, the group of HCPs and industry experts joined for an honest dialog on the current relationship between the pharma companies, payers and patients.

The roaster of experts were representatives from companies including Pfizer, McKinsey & Company, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Otsuka America Pharmaceuticals, GSK, Astellas, Merck, Purdue Pharma, Huron Consulting, PwC, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Aetna, just to name a few.

Here were some of the important points on the best practices of audience engagement and building lasting relationships that were captured during the course of the event:

What does value mean in today’s environment?
  • Listen carefully to your customers and sales professionals; 
  • Establish connectivity with your customers and people within your organization; 
  • Patients question your values every day. As a pharma expert, you need to communicate your values in such a way that they align with the values of the patients.

When I get up early in the morning I think to myself, ‘What would the patients say if they in the same room with me?’ - Deborah Waterhouse, GSK

How much is the patient deciding which medications he or she is going to take and essentially pay for?

  • The payer is the king, but… 
  • The healthcare professional should be the one to decide which medicine is right. 
  • The main player should be the healthcare professional. So when the company [GSK] is having an interaction with a healthcare professional, we know it is based on the scientific knowledge of the physician.

    “There are a lot of unmet needs in the primary care market, and to be successful you need to be aggressive in identifying those needs.” - Jon Kaiser, K-PAX Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

On the best way to engage the primary care community:
  • Your patients and payers are on digital and social platforms, are you? 
  • There are apps that allow you to align with physicians, and tech platforms that allows you to evolve from the traditional marketing. 
  • How do you train people [sales professionals] differently to provide a personalized experience? • Know what they value and what their incentives are. 
  • What new drugs are coming into market? Engage the payer in this conversation as early as possible

“We try to look at the problem through a lens of the patient,” Walt Johnston, Astellas

 What’s the right way to engage a patient in today’s environment?
  • Think about what patients need in different stages of his or her illness. Social listening helps with looking at the words people use in different stages. You need to speak the patients’ language and provide them with what they need.
  • Consumer activation -- partnering with patients and consumers and bringing them into the conversation makes a difference. 
  • Provide direct consumer advertising that provides an educating point of view; 
  • Support the patient with information on their condition and/or diseases once they get on the treatment; 
  • Work closely with patient advocacy organizations. It was suggested that the FDA likes to see both the science of physicians and the patients behind the treatments to feel more secure and that they can trust the treatment. Therefore, it is very important to incorporate the patients’ voice.

Lastly, on pharma reputation:
  • It’s the biggest challenge; 
  • How are we perceived in terms of trust? 
  •  Pricing is the largest issue and the most visible issue pushing companies to take on the Responsible Pricing approach as the strategy.

About the author: Ksenia Newton, a Digital Content Manager at Knect365, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, content marketing and marketing analysis. She can be reached at or @Ksenia_Newton
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