The Shifting Business Model Of Pharma

A recent study carried out by Booz & Company and National Analysts Worldwide showed a lot of interesting data on how pharma executives see the industry, what they think are the most pressing challenges and how they are planning on changing their business according to the new economic environment.

They survey gathered answers from more than 150 pharmaceutical decision makers working in the US and Europe. Among the respondents were directors, vice presidents and managers. Their replies suggested something that is part of the pharma conversations for a long time now. Namely that the current model of doing business is not effective anymore and there is a significant need for transforming the industry.

Key findings:

  • 44% of respondents suggested that the pharma industry’s business model is not working, 24% strongly agreed with this notion. Only 6% disagreed.
  • When asked about the biggest challenges pharma is going to have to face in the coming years, 76% of respondents mentioned the pressure from cutting budgets and the rising price of healthcare. The second issue most decision makers (70%) were concerned about was delivering cost-effective solutions and demonstrating success in finding these alternative solutions. 60% of respondents said they fear the competition coming from generic products, while 53% finds less access to physicians a pressing issue. Interestingly with higher healthcare pricing being such a big concern, only 50% of respondents were worried about how patients are going to pay for their medications.
  • There is no agreement between decision makers about how these changes are going to effect the actual time that pharma representatives will spend with physicians. 43% of respondents said they believe face time with doctors will decrease, while 26% of executives thought the opposite.
  • According to the data gathered digital solutions are going to be the go-to sources to cut costs and to be more cost-effective. 58% of respondents plan on spending more on social media aimed at physicians, 55% are going to increase spending on mobile solutions while 52% of executives mentioned e-detailing as one of the main areas to focus on.

The shift from the old model of the pharma industry toward a digital, more social and interactive way to do business seems inevitable. The question remains how different companies are going to face the challenges of change and how effectively they can implement new solutions into their business.

(Source: Pharmalot.com)

Physicians Using The Internet On Mobile Devices

On both the American and European market the role of smartphones in medical-professional information-seeking is becoming more and more important. According to the result of a study published by MD Marketing Research 64% of American doctors own a smartphone (the rate is 67% among family practitioners, and 61% among specialists). Every fifth physician owns a tablet (27% of both family doctors and specialists have a type of tablet device).

Among physicians who are more open to new technologies findings show even higher rates. According to a Manhattan Research study published in 2011, 81% of American „ePharma doctors” (physicians who use digital channels to keep in touch with pharmaceutical representatives) own a smartphone, 30% of them have an iPad, and 28% of physicians plan to purchase a tablet in the coming 6 months. The 5 biggest countries in Europe are falling a little behind with 69% of doctors using smartphones.

American ePharma physicians clearly prefer mobile devices when it comes to keeping in touch and communicating with pharmaceutical companies:

  • 45% of them would rather communicate with pharmaceutical representatives using a smartphone or iPad.
  • When it comes to getting the information about certain products they also clearly prefer online channels.

Physicians more frequently rely on the possibilities presented by mobile devices in Hungary as well. When it comes to using the internet desktops (82%) and notebooks (56%) are the most popular, while 15% of doctors use smartphones to go online, while the rate of tablets and PDAs is 5%.

Smartphone owners among physicians – Physicians going online using a mobile device in Hungary

Source: MM&M (August 2011), Szinapszis MedNetTrack 2011 (n=909 physicians)

 

Age is a significant factor when it comes to mobile devices: younger doctors go online on mobile devices more and more, 19% of them using smartphones and 3-5% using tablets or palmtop computers.

(Katalin Kiss)

For News Sites Facebook Comes In Handy

According to data published by Facebook in June, at least 7,4% the traffic of the five most popular European news site comes from the social network. German Bild.de, the third biggest online news publisher on the continent gets 14% of its visitors from Facebook. Also, they experienced the largest growth (11%) in social site driven traffic last year.

10,6% of readers of the British MailOnline get to the site trough Facebook compared to 3,7% last year. Guardian.co.uk has 13,5 million unique visitors 7,4% of which comes from Facebook.

Back in May the Pew Research Center studied news sites in the United States and found that Facebook is the second or third largest source of driving traffic to the five biggest news publishing portals:

  • The Huffington Post: 8% of the traffic comes from Facebook.
  • The New York Times: 6% of the traffic comes from Facebook.
  • Examiner: around 6% of the traffic comes from Facebook.
  • CNN: around 7% of the traffic comes from Facebook.
  • ABC News: around 7% of the traffic comes from Facebook.

(Source: Socialtimes.hu)

Social Media – Obsessed With Numbers

It seems to me that when it comes to different social media platforms, we tend to focus only on how many people use these applications. And because this number is constantly changing, it gives bloggers, publishers, etc. something to keep writing about.

Bloomberg put together a report about how many American adults use Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Of course the emphasis was on the last one, since Google+ became the buzz word in social media this last month. So all of a sudden everyone is surprised how fast the number of users is rising. Well if you spend any time online, you are going to come across articles on the new platform on a daily basis. And not once, but a couple of times. It was actually interesting to see that Facebook (I’m sure) unintentionally became one of the biggest advertising sites for its competitor. With all the users posting status updates about their new Google+ accounts, the platform received tremendous hype.

This is why the report is able to show that already 13% of US adults signed up for a Google+ account, while Facebook is still used by 71% of adults online in the United States. The study also suggests, that Facebook will lose 2% of its users in the next year, while Google+ is going to reach 22% of US adults. First of all I think it is highly speculative to publish these kinds of rates one year in advance. Especially in the world of social media, where innovations and new applications can and usually do appear and gain users rapidly, and where they can be taken over by the next big thing just as fast. Secondly, I don’t think that Google+ growing more quickly than Facebook or MySpace did after being introduced is any indication of its larger popularity compared to the other sites. Google+ had a pattern, a model of features to follow that made it a lot easier to market it to people. How much simpler is to say “Oh, it’s kind of like Facebook, just cooler”, than to try to explain Facebook to users that never known anything like it before.

As I said before, it is better being careful saying anything too soon about shiny new things in social media. The high user rates and hype may calm down after the initial introduction and first phase of an application. The numbers show how many people use the platform, they don’t say anything about how they are using it. And that is what studies are usually missing. It doesn’t matter if people register on a new platform if they never visit it again. And actually, we see this trend already with Google+: 31% of its users created their profiles but never posted anything and didn’t stick with the application. Other than data like this, we need a deeper analysis on what people are doing on social media sites and how they are doing it, what kind of content they share, how frequently and how they engage with others online. These questions are clearly harder to answer, but doing so would be definitely more informative than publishing a bunch of ever-changing numbers.

(Source: Bloomberg.com)