IMS: Pharma marketing needs $15B overhaul

You may think that Big Pharma has remodeled its promotional efforts quite enough, thank you. After all, companies have shed thousands of sales reps, in a big about-face from its previous boots-on-the-ground buildup. But IMS Health says drugmakers need an even bigger overhaul.

The pharma-market analysis firm says the industry should re-deploy about $15 billion in promotional spending because--to put it bluntly--those dollars aren't yielding enough sales. Instead of viewing doctors' offices as ground zero for most marketing efforts, drugmakers should broaden their focus to include drug-benefit plans. Managed care companies have lots more clout these days, using their formularies to guide members toward less expensive drugs--even if a physician has prescribed a costlier alternative.

Plus, companies shouldn't simply home in on clinical efficacy when promoting their drugs. They should tout cost-effectiveness, too, the IMS consultants said. And new technology, such as online detailing, can be more efficient than traditional sales detailing.

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