‘The right drug, at the right dose, at the right time’. Heard it all before? I expect so; it’s been for some time the mantra of pharmaceutical companies and industry associations.
Last year saw the 10th anniversary of the launch of the National Medicines Policy (NMP). Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) is one of its four pillars, along with timely access to affordable medicines, their quality, safety and efficacy, and a responsible and viable pharmaceutical industry.
Medicines Australia clearly states that it is a committed supporter of the NMP and QUM. Its communications outline that in practice this means making sure that when medicine is needed it is:
- prescribed correctly;
- available and affordable;
- correctly dispensed;
- taken in the right dose, for the right amount of time; and
- effective, safe and of good quality.
A New Mantra for Pharma
I want to question, however, the pharmaceutical industry’s role in delivering on QUM policy. Should the industry be focusing its efforts more on delivering the right message, to the right people, at the right time?
Pharmaceutical companies make considerable annual investments in delivering programs designed to encourage patient compliance, along with a plethora of patient support programs. But are these investments really making a difference? And, if so, what difference are they actually making?
It is a challenge to quantify a marketing or advertising campaign’s impact and return on investment. Similarly, it can be difficult to quantify patient benefits and a patient support programs’ return on investment. When outsourcing such programs it’s imperative that marketers and medical staff take into account the knowledge, qualifications and experience of the designers and deliverers of the services.
Experience shows that pharmaceuticals companies are experts in:
- determining the appropriate dose of medicines;
- ascertaining the ideal route and best time to take medicines;
- providing prescribers, pharmacists and other allied health professionals with product information pertinent to the use of their medicines.
Are these the areas in which the pharmaceutical industry should be concentrating and communicating its efforts to healthcare professionals, consumers and governments alike?
That’s a question I think we need to ask.
Managing Director, Commercial Eyes