Vol. 5, No. 5: May 2006 – EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Welcome to the latest issue of Pharma Marketing News. This is the Executive Summary version. See Article Summaries below.

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Article Summaries

The Changing World of MSLs: Determining Value

It’s a new era for pharmaceutical company interaction with physicians. New guidelines and regulations from various governmental and non-governmental regulatory bodies have come into play during the past few years. The second event defining this new era was the withdrawal of Vioxx from the market in 2004 and the subsequent re-emergence of the importance of physicians as “learned intermediaries.”

More than ever, it is important to educate physicians about new drugs and to keep this education separate from the marketing function of the company yet aligned with commercial goals.

This article is an edited transcript of the May 2006, Pharma Marketing Roundtable discussion, which was devoted to exploring issues surrounding the new roles of medical science liaisons (MSLs) and key opinion leader physicians (KOLs) in physician education and product marketing.

Special Guest Expert: Jane Chin, Ph.D., President, Medical Science Liaison Institute LL

Topics covered include:

  • Role of MSLs
  • Problems Adapting to Change
  • Fear of Metrics
  • MSL as Commodity
  • Typical MSL Job Description
  • Sales Force of the Future?
  • Glorified Sales Reps?
  • The MSL-KOL Relationship
  • Focus on the Message
  • Commentary: Give Docs What They Want
  • Changing Influence Geometry
  • Coordination and Culture
  • The Off-Label Promotion Factor

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Biotech DTC: Business Not As Usual

In 2005, sales of biotech products-i.e., biologics, including therapeutic serums, toxins, antitoxins, vaccines, blood components or derivatives, allergenic products, or analogous products, or derivatives (see box)-grew by 17.1 percent, far outstripping the 5.2 percent in sales growth of small molecules-products developed and marketed by Big Pharma. Although the overall total sales of biologics is still small in comparison to small molecules-about $52 billion vs. $600 billion -the biotech industry is poised to dramatically increase the number of products it adds to the market each year.

Whatever the numbers, there’s blood in the water and ad agencies are circling, trying to entice these innovative companies into transforming themselves into marketing machines. Some agency people suggest that biotech needs to engage in traditional direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising. Biotech, however, needs more than DTC as usual.

This article includes comments from Alfred O’Neill, SVP, Group Director at Ryan TrueHealth, an integrated direct marketing healthcare agency. Mr. O’Neill’s experience includes the launch of Raptiva and Tarceva for Genentech and he was the lead agency strategist for Amevive and Iressa.

Topics covered include:

  • Definitions and FAQs: What is a biological product? How do biological products differ from conventional drugs?
  • Follow Big Pharma’s Footsteps?
  • Biotech Products Require More Education
  • The “Oprahsizing” of Advertising
  • Scientist Ambassadors
  • Cost of Biotech Products
  • Biotech Marketing Guideposts
  • Service vs. Product: Betaseron Case Study

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Peter Rost: Whistle Blower, Pharma Blogger, ???

It might be fair to call former Pfizer marketing VP Peter Rost “Pharma’s Black Knight” because of his confrontation with the drug industry over drug importation and his “whistle-blower” case against Pfizer. He achieved notoriety on 60 Minutes and in testimony before the US Senate regarding high US drug prices and drug importation from Canada by US citizens. Using these pulpits, Rost has criticized the drug industry on their stance against importation, calling it “fundamentally unethical.” After his 60 Minutes interview, Pfizer temporarily cut off his phone and email service and eventually fired him.

This article is based on an interview in which Rost describes his new post-Pfizer vocation: Blogger!

Topics covered include:

  • Peter Rost the Whistle Blower
  • Peter Rost the Blogger
  • A Unique Style
  • Pharmacia and Genotrophin
  • The Andy Rooney of Pharma Bloggers
  • Peter Rost on Medicare Part D
  • Peter Rost on Trustworthiness of Drug Industry
  • A Sampling of Rost Blog Posts
  • What Does Rost Plan To Do For Money These Days?

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