The following list of topics is a sampling of posts made to Pharma Marketing Blog in the past month or so. Some additional information has been added to bring some of these topics up-to-date.

Free lunch for patients! Why not?
Posted August 1, 2006

I have no problem with free lunches for physicians. But what about patients?

I think patients — who are seeing more free physician lunches being wheeled right by them in their doctors’ waiting rooms — are feeling more and more left out. This is bad from a PR perspective and short-sighted from a marketing perspective.

My solution is to provide patient free lunches simultaneously with physician free lunches.

Here’s what some readers have said:

“Horrified though I am, that’s actually a great idea.” — Anonymous

“I think that is a great idea and as for me I see only advantages of this and it all seems to be very well thought-out!” — PharmaMedics

Read more…

Vioxx Scorecard: Was 5-3-14192, Now 4-5-14191
Posted August 7, 2006

On August 7, 2006 Merck was celebrating a Vioxx victory that tipped its scorecard to 5 wins, 3 losses and 14,192 remaining cases. However, that victory was reversed on August 17, 2006 (Merck plans to appeal the reversal) and Merck lost another case setting the Vioxx scorecard to 4-5-14191!

Back on August 7, many analysts were using the Vioxx win-loss scorecard as proof that Merck’s strategy is “prudent” and paying off. But do the numbers — even the August 7 numbers — justify the rosy forecasts?

Have fun working with the numbers and making some predictions regarding how many more years of Vioxx litigation Merck has in store and how many man years of effort will be involved.

Read more…

Brand Extinction Looms
Posted August 11, 2006

According to a Forbes article, “By 2011, a quarter of current drug sales in the U.S. will be eaten away by less expensive generic pills as medicines lose patent protection. Between 2007 and 2011, more than 80 medicines are expected to face this fate.”

Faced with this looming drought, what are the options for the drug industry?

And, are biotech companies immune?

Read more…

Further Adventures of PhRMA Intern!
July 27 and July 31, 2006 episodes

Yes, it’s PhRMA Intern! Strange visitor from an Ivy League school who came to PhRMA with powers and ability far beyond those of Ken Johnson.

PhRMA Intern vs. the Pharma PR Agency!
Emily … that is, PhRMA Intern! … takes on a large pharma PR agency in NYC where she is confronted by a familiar foe…
Read more…

PhRMA Intern Tackles Terrorists!
Ripped right out of today’s headlines! Our story begins with an amendment latched on to the $31.7 billion Senate Homeland Security Appropriations bill that would create a Canadian loophole in the Food and Drug Administration ban on importing prescription medicine into the United States.

Does the importation of drugs from Canada by seniors pose a terrorist threat? What’s the connection between this issue and the infamous Medicare Part D “donut hole?” Is there really a “donut hole?”

What is PhRMA Intern!’s viewpoint and what, if anything, does she do about it?
Read more…

[Our poll shows that a slim majority of respondents wish to see more of PhRMA Intern! (52% vs. 48%). This may be the last sighting of our super heroine before she returns to school.]

Do you want more or less of PhRMA Intern!
Yes, please continue!
No, I’ve had my fill of PhRMA Intern!
Yes, but bring more villians into it!
Whatever! You may be going too far!

Lunesta, a Sleeping Dog; Rozerem Too!
Posted July 25, 2006

Well, well, well. Sepracor, the pharmaceutical company that we love to hate for reneging on its pledge to comply with PhRMA’s Guiding Principles for DTC advertising (see Sepracor Sneaks In Lunesta Reminder Ad), said sales of its sleeping pill Lunesta will be lower than expected.

Lunesta is a “dog,” said David Southwell, Sepracor’s chief financial officer, in an interview.

“Since the April 2005 rollout of the drug, its manufacturer, Sepracor, has spent $227 million, making Lunesta the drug most frequently advertised to the public last year.” — Consumer Union (Sleeping pills Are they worth the risks?)

Lunesta may not be the only sleep aid dog of a product. Rozerem may have also drug failed to live up to its expectations and advertising budget. Pharma Marketing Blog has learned from a reliable industry source that Rozerem’s market share increased from 1.4% to 1.7%, which is a minuscule blip considering that Takeda spent $100 million on Rozerem ads — ads like the one shown in “Rozerem Ads Dis Lincoln, Show Beaver” — over the past 12 months. Estimating the total market for sleep aid drugs to be $3 billion per year, the Rozerem ads are well into “negative” ROI territory. (The increase in market share, 0.3%, equates to about $9-10 million, which was achieved with an investment of $100 million in DTC advertising. In other words, for every dollar of DTC advertising, Takeda received 10 cents in return!)

Look for a change in the focus of Rozerem and Lunesta DTC ads in the near future.

Read more…

Sicko si, Pharmaco no!?
Posted August 9, 2006

Last February I wrote about Michael Moore’s new film “Sicko” and suggested that it will be about “Moore” than the pharmaceutical industry. In July, Moore sent out an email notice that more or less confirmed this.

Also, there have been reports about problems with production of the film as well.

What techniques have pharmaceutical companies employed that may have short-circuited Moore?

Read more…

McKinnell’s New Gig: Male Model
Posted August 10, 2006

Pfizer’s CEO Hank McKinnell — soon to retire — has lost no time finding another gig: that of male model for pharmaceutical vendor ads. Some golden parachute!

Evidence of his new career can be seen in a spread in a trade publication, which is known for its quirky ad/editorial juxtapositions!

Read more…