Bridging the Pharma-Doctor Communication Gap: Docplexus Survey Series – #1What Doctors feel About Antibiotics Misuse
ZS Associate, in its AccessMonitor study, found that the number of physicians meeting with pharma sales reps has dropped from about 80% in 2008 to a mere 44% in 2016. This is indicative of the narrowing down of opportunities at pharma’s disposal to communicate their messages to medical practitioners. With such limited avenues, it becomes even more important for pharma to provide the information that is relevant to doctors, something that is in line with the current practices. This would be possible only when pharma gain deep, survey-based insights into the changing treatment styles and prescription trends.
Sound Pharma-Doctor Communication is the Key to Pharma Success
Clear, vibrant and transparent communication between pharma and doctors is extremely vital. A ‘healthy two-way communication’ between doctors and pharma will ultimately contribute to their common goal – enabling patients live longer and healthier lives. The messages that pharma deliver influence doctors’ prescription patterns to a large extent.
Pharma needs to provide accurate and the most recent information about prescription drugs to doctors. For this, it first needs to assess what doctors’ sentiments about the commonly-followed treatment approaches and drug therapies are and whether these trends have undergone a change. Thus, feedback from doctors is of utmost importance. When this happens, pharma can derive maximum value from its marketing initiatives.
However, a majority of communication is one-sided – from Pharma to doctors. Often, pharma field force is out to achieve its marketing goals without the necessary training, insights and marketing collaterals that doctors are in need of.
It is obvious that a HUGE gap exists between what doctors want and what pharma marketers offer. Docplexus’ member surveys are an attempt to bridge this gap.
Our first survey in the series aims to gain insights into the much-debated and potentially disastrous ‘Antibiotics Abuse’. The medical community is waking up to the harmful effects of over-prescription of antibiotics by doctors and improper use (sometimes self-prescribed use) by patients. These practices are contributing to the growing menace of ‘Antibiotics Resistance’. There has been a lot of discussion on the Docplexus platform around this issue. It is obvious that there is dire need to find a way out. That was the main trigger for this survey.
Aim –To understand the reason behind the misuse of antibiotics and come up with potential solutions to limit this growing threat.
Survey Methodology – Online Poll. The best possible survey method was to get online opinions of doctors across India to have a good randomized sample distribution across age, demographics and specialties.
Sample Size – We selected 160 clinicians out of which 96 completed the survey.
The survey revealed these insights –
Survey Results – What they mean for Pharma
There is no doubt that there is rampant misuse of antibiotics by medical practitioners. A majority of doctors attribute this to training deficiencies. 14% claimed that the community lacks clarity regarding the recommended course of treatment. 78% stress that education pertaining to rational use of antibiotics will resolve this issue.
With such strong opinions in place, it is apparent that doctors have changed their treatment approach and lowered antibiotics prescription to a strictly ‘only-if-needed’ basis. Moreover, deficiencies in delivery of information to physicians seem to be a major contributor to this problem. Pharma needs to take cognizance of this and alter its product and marketing communication message.
As a responsible stakeholder of the healthcare ecosystem, pharma should take the onus of spreading awareness about the potential health hazards of overprescribing antibiotics within the doctor community. Keeping its revenue targets aside, Pharma must do the right thing by disseminating best practice guidelines such as the optimal duration of medication, the right dosage levels, etc. Moreover, the safest type of drugs should be promoted. This will make pharma true enablers of better healthcare outcomes.
How can Docplexus Help?
Developing the right product at the right time and then marketing it in the right way will drive pharma growth. Docplexus’ sophisticated services lend comprehensive insights into the current medical practices. Our surveys are far from the intrusive, and therefore, undesirable ‘push marketing’ efforts. On our platform, doctors choose to give their opinions about things that matter and participate in discussions that interest them. Most importantly, all of this takes place in a neutral setting, leaving no doubt about the authenticity and un-biased nature of insights.
Our structured feedback loop ensures that pharma can direct their resources towards marketing the right type of products. We offer qualitative as well as quantitative feedback about doctor preferences which enable pharma to get a complete picture of the prevalent practices and drug choices. Docplexus’ ‘medical content specialists’ partner with pharma to develop the right content strategy taking into consideration various parameters of their target customers like regional base, specialization, experience, etc.
Clearly-defined and mutually-agreed communication goals, objectives and activities coupled with data-backed analytical feedback makes Docplexus the stepping stone in Pharma’s multichannel marketing communication efforts.