Pharma needs to step up outreach to Latinos

Drugmakers are struggling to communicate properly with the Latino community. According to a physician survey, the majority of pharma companies aren't getting their messages across to Latino patients, and one third of drugmakers are failing miserably.

Anyone looking at demographic trends knows Hispanics represent a major portion of the U.S. population, and their numbers are growing rapidly. Drugmakers that can figure out how to communicate with Latino patients will have an edge in marketing to that burgeoning community.

The KCI Partners/Jeffrey Group survey uncovered some possibilities. Although television can be an effective means for reaching Latinos, TV advertising isn't the best bet. Stories about patients and their medical conditions work best to educate Hispanic patients about treatment possibilities. "[I]t appears as if traditional media relations is more effective than advertising for Hispanic audiences," Jeffrey Group president Mike Valdes-Fauli told Medical Marketing & Media.

Another thing to keep in mind is access to meds. Lack of insurance gets in the way, but so do language barriers and immigration status. Pharma companies have patient-assistance programs, but they might be most effective when they're promoted in Spanish and when staffers speak the language. Furthermore, U.S. healthcare reform may help put more Latino patients on the insurance rolls.

- read the MM&M story