Wednesday, May 26, 2010

NY Times Articles-Medication Adherence

“Failure of patients to comply with therapeutic regimens is a continuing source of frustration to physicians and clinicians. Only recently, however, has it become the subject of special investigations.” See the NY Times & NY Times Blog

No, you haven’t missed a thing – W.L. Ball, MD, wrote those lines in 1974 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The problem of patient noncompliance lingers, festers, metastasizes. Back in Dr. Ball’s time, only a handful of people didn’t fill a new script. A new Harvard study now shows that percentage has grown: More than 20 percent of patients do not even go to the pharmacy and get their prescriptions filled.

Reams have been written on why people won’t take their meds as prescribed: They don’t understand what they’ve been told to do; they don’t have the money to fill the script; it’s too inconvenient to go to the pharmacy; and most importantly, they don’t have the education to appreciate the severity of their disease. The latter, incidentally, was not considered a factor in Dr. Ball’s time, but health literacy is a big part of the growing healthcare problem in this country.

The stakeholders here – industry, physicians, retail pharmacists, pharmacy benefit managers, managed care organizations, employers and even the government – claim they want to see patients take their drugs as prescribed. But who’s problem is this really? No one seems to be willing to take the lead and help drive this change. That would mean claiming ownership, at least partial ownership, of the problem, and no one wants to do that. They want to know who is going to pay for it?

That short-term view might look a tad foolish, 10 years down the road, when all those people who haven’t taken their meds for all their chronic diseases start consuming a lot more of the healthcare dollars. What will happen then?

“Medication non-adherence undermines even the best cost-saving and clinical intentions of evidence-based care,” according to the NY times article. We think people should do something about it. Each stakeholder in the medication therapy management process has a responsibility. Only by working collectively can we really solve this problem. We have some ideas and have done some work with a lot of bright minds on this issue. However, there is room for more. Tell us your thoughts.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Marketers lack leadership

Marketers lack leadership - Medical Marketing and Media
Source: Medical Marketing & Media April 15, 2010

Something’s wrong somewhere. How can so many marketing managers lack the leadership skills that industry requires of them? We believe it is due to the internal trial by fire culture that exists in the market today -- individuals who want to get to the next level in their careers in 18 months or less. Remember when the industry had “Product Champions” in marketing who brought the product through development to a commercial model and was committed to the product/service till the end? They made a career out of being a “respiratory marketer” who senior leadership relied on for answers.
Through this assessment of more than 500 industry execs who supervise marketing managers, one can see the lack of investment in people that industry once held as a hallmark, an investment that would pay dividends. In this survey, conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership, 16 skills that the execs considered important for their marketing managers were compared with actual competency levels, as assessed by the managers' co-workers. Five of the skills the execs said were most important – leading, motivating and involving staff, staying cool under pressure, effectively driving change – were at the bottom of the actual skill sets. More than 4,600 co-workers responded.
You see this today very clearly as companies are adding to the level of pressure because most workers are now remote. Teams of experts do not gather together face to face to resolve conflict because everyone is on live meeting. We believe change occurs at a much slower pace and while decisions are often immediate, there appear to be a lot more failed projects today than there were 6, 10 years ago in the industry. When was the last time you talked with one of your friends in Pharma who really enjoys being in the commercial world? They are more the exception than the rule nowadays.
Not all the news from the survey was awful. The co-workers said that the marketing managers do what it takes to get the job done, are decisive and are resourceful – all excellent qualities, considering the tasks that lie ahead for industry. However, if this survey is on target, we think it raises a few questions:
  • What does this tell us about the commercial personnel and the business model in the industry today?
  • How will the industry evolve its marketing model to deliver customer value?
  • How did the situation get this way? Was it neglect or a conscious effort that lead to this approach?
  • Have individual firms gotten so big that individual performance is being overlooked and goes unrewarded?
  • What can leaders in industry do to correct performance?
We think this is an excellent article that should stir some debate in organizations like PHRMA, BIO, and AdvaMed. With all the right sizing going on, we believe a lot more talent is flowing out of companies than into them at the moment. We are interested in your thoughts.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Evidence for Texting As "mHealth": Another Tool For Population-Based Care, Medical Homes and Disease Management

Thought as one of our first blog entries, I would direct you to another blog post that I find very interesting. The application of Mobile technology and Medication Management is a very interesting combination that I believe the Pharmaceutical and Biotech industries need to consider embracing.

The questions that may be interesting for debate are who are the stakeholders and what role should they play in this issue. Let me know your thoughts after reading this. We will be back with more of our thoughts.

Time to evolve

After resisting the trend, I realized through advice of family, friends, clients and colleagues that BioPharma Advisors needs to be proactive and become more involved. As of this date, we will begin to blog and tweet in this social media age. Let us know what you think and what types of content you would be interested in hearing from us.