How can pharma marketers improve medical adherence?

How can pharma marketers improve medication adherence?
How can pharma marketers improve medication adherence?

Medication adherence among patients is a major problem that doctors, health care providers and pharmaceutical marketers need to work together to eliminate. Marketing campaigns should focus on providing the necessary drug information and labels that emphasize the importance of persistence of medication use. Here are four strategies that pharma marketers can take to help enhance medical adherence across the country. 

1. Consider rewards for motivation
According to a recent survey of 100 doctors by Healthprize, between 25 and 30 percent of patients do not fill their prescriptions when necessary or engage in another form of nonadherence, such as failing to take their medications when required. 

Almost half of these physicians also said that rewards, such as discounts on medications, would help to improve adherence. Pharma companies, with the cooperation of prescribers, should consider offering discounts on long-term maintenance medications. For example, companies can provide a one-month supply of the prescription free for patients who get it filled for 11 months straight. Rewarding consumers for their brand loyalty in a way that's tangible will increase interest in the product while encouraging patients to continue the proper use of their medicine. 

2. Provide clear and thorough information
Producing advertisements that include all of the necessary information to give patients a thorough understanding of what the drug is and how it works will help to enhance adherence. A patient isn't going to want to buy or fill a medication if he or she doesn't have a good grasp on factors like the drug's side effects and how it works.

"It's all about the patient experience – and that means ensuring that patients understand all perspectives: understand from the drug company what the drug does, learn from HCPs how it will be administered and how the healthcare service will support them," Elisa del Galdo, head of customer experience at Blue Latitude Network told PMLive. "To get patient buy-in, we need to connect all the dots and build solutions around a shared understanding of the therapeutic area, the patients, their needs and how the healthcare system can encourage and support behavior that leads to the best outcomes."

Instead of getting too caught up in the appearance of an email or flyer, pharma companies should put more emphasis on providing clear explanations of the essential aspects of their drugs, working to create ads that are equally informative and attractive. 

3. Create ads that show patient perspective
Consumer advertisements should include real stories of patients who have taken the product and are happy with the same amount of control over their lives as they had before they began taking the medication. Television ads could show patients not only in control, but also benefiting from the treatment with positive effects for long periods of time after use. 

"The industry should perhaps consider looking at the problem from the outside-in and work harder to understand the perspectives of all other stakeholders," del Galdo explained to PMLive. "The only way to understand how you can support patients and HCPs in the long journey from pre-diagnosis through to cure is to be able to see it from their perspective – and use those insights to develop the tools and services to help them."

4. Promote importance of long-term use
If pharma companies show that long-term maintenance has benefited consumers who have used their products, it may help educate customers and improve adherence. This is particularly true for medications that help patients who experience reoccurring symptoms. According to Medical Marketing & Media, emphasizing the fact that continued use of the medication over long periods of time will alleviate these side effects will increase the likelihood that patients will refill prescriptions