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Digital Marketing in Pharma Sector

By:   •  Research Paper  •  687 Words  •  January 4, 2015  •  467 Views

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Digital Marketing in Pharma Sector

Influence of Pharmaceutical Promotional Tools on Doctors' Prescribing Behaviour

Abstract

Pharmaceutical companies spend a vast sum of their money on promotional activities which include advertisements in print and social media, using sales representative, sponsorship of educational events and conferences, free samples to the doctors etc.

Promotional activities form a huge part of healthcare sector spending across the world. Around 20%-35% of the pharmaceutical spending is directed towards promotional activities. This is because there is a distinct difference in the buying process in healthcare sector. The decision maker in this case is not the consumers (in this case the patients) but the doctors who choose among an array of drug alternatives. Hence, the role played by doctors in the marketing strategies of various pharmaceutical companies cannot be undermined.

This research paper aims at determining the extent to which doctors’ (with varied demographic profile, years of experience, different specialities, from varied cities etc) prescription behaviour is influenced by the various promotional activities undertaken by pharmaceutical companies and whether these promotional strategies are effective enough to give an impetus to prescriptions.

Introduction

The pharmaceutical market is highly fragmented with about 24,000 players with around 330 in the organised sector.

The pharmaceutical marketing environment has become more challenging with every passing day. The market is characterised by intense competition  with more than 16000 companies (large, medium and small) fighting for their own place under the sun in a market that is expected to become a USD 25 billion market by 2020 (Doc- . This implies that practicing doctors are constantly exposed to various competing stimuli.

A reflective scanning of the pharmaceutical market in India indicates that the pharmaceutical industry is under the influence of eight basic forces:

  1. The government as a force trying to regulate the industry.
  2. The trade as a force to facilitate the availability.
  3. The medical profession as a force to stimulate the demand for different types of drug formulations.
  4. Technology as a force to create or eliminate competition
  5. The status of a country in terms of its industrial development, population, hygiene, health awareness and per capita income.
  6. Influence of international development and its impact
  7. Force of the patients that greatly impacts the products of pharmaceutical companies.
  8. Force of Medical Representatives (MRs) in influencing the prescription behaviour of the doctors.

In such a competitive market scenario it becomes vital for pharmaceutical firms to adopt marketing strategies that gives them a competitive advantage and increase brand equity. Since doctors are the decision makers, it becomes necessary for pharmaceutical companies to influence them. Prescription for majority of the doctors is more of a reflex action and if a brand acquires a place in doctor’s mind, his reflex to prescribe the brand can be developed slowly. It is the brand’s effectiveness and the doctor’s experience with the brand that can provide an impetus to or hinder the prescriptions.

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