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What Is Pharma Marketing? Everything You Need To Know

If you work in a medical profession or are interested in doing so, you may have asked, “what is pharma marketing?”. 

This blog will tell you everything you need to know about Pharma Marketing, from its beginning to its end. We’ll discuss the definition of Pharma Marketing and the different ways it takes shape. 

Without further ado, let’s explore the world of marketing and pharmaceuticals! 

#1 What Is Pharma Marketing? 

Simply put, Pharma Marketing is marketing a pharmaceutical product to a consumer.

#2 How Does Pharma Marketing Work?

Once a drug has been created, it will be time for the developers to think about how they want to market their product. There are a few steps to this process, such as:

  1. Market Sizing and Forecasting – It’s important to understand how competitors market drugs and where gaps in the market may appear. Using expert analytic tools such as trend forecasting and market sizing, a pharma company can conclude a more dynamic picture of the market they’re entering. 
  1. Initial Design and Marketing – Interestingly enough, a drug doesn’t have to be finished for companies to start marketing it. A drug can be marketed during its final testing stages to build a buzz around it and let people know when it will be available. Once a product has been created and market research conducted, a design team will be hired to help brand the drug and create marketing materials. 
  1. Approval and Marketing Campaigns – Once the drug has been thoroughly tested and trialled, it is approved for release. This is when the big marketing campaigns will begin, as the manufacturing company wants the news about the drug’s benefits. At this stage, pharmaceutical reps will conduct in-person marketing and sales by visiting surgeries, pharmacies and medical facilities and telling them how the drug may help them treat patients. 
  1. Insurance Deals And Further Promotion – In some cases, a drug developer and wholesaler may deal with a specific type of medical care insurer to use their drug. Sometimes the insurer will use the drug as a benefit of picking their insurance plan, leading to a second collaborative marketing campaign. 

How a drug is marketed largely depends on the type of drug. If it is an over-the-counter drug (like the popular pain reliever Neurofen, for example), it may be marketed on television, billboards and other large platforms to convince people to buy it. 

Most marketing will occur within medical circles and through sales representatives if it’s a prescription drug. As the public needs a doctor to prescribe these drugs, the sales efforts must be directed at doctors, pharmacies and hospital buyers instead of the public.

#3 What Is Multi-Channel Marketing In Pharma? 

Multi-channel marketing is the process of blending different promotional and distribution channels to market a product. The objective of doing this is to make it as simple as possible for consumers to purchase the goods available. 

In Pharmaceutical marketing, this will most often happen with over-the-counter drugs, which can be marketed across various platforms. However, with the increase of online culture, we also see it happening with prescription medications such as birth control pills. Some channels used in pharma marketing for prescription drugs include:

Websites – Most drugs will have a website. This helps to inform medical professionals about the in-depth details of the drug to see if they’d like to purchase them or book an enquiry/consultation, and helps the public see what is in the drug they’ve been offered. 

Online Pharmacies – Online pharmacies such as Lloyds now offer prescription drugs you can purchase online. A pharmacist reviews your request and can choose whether to administer the drug to you. As this goes via a private pharmacy and not a free NHS service, the consumer must pay for the drug – therefore, advertising on these sites benefits manufacturers. 

Pharma Reps – Pharmaceutical representatives are responsible for in-person sales of drugs. They will approach buyers and give them a talk on what the drug does, answer questions and even provide sample runs. 

All of these things come together to make it easy for the consumer to get a prescription product if needed, increasing the sales revenue for the manufacturer.

#4 What Happens If A Drug Is Falsely Advertised?

Unfortunately, there have been incidents in which drugs have been falsely advertised to the public and medical professionals. This usually results in a lawsuit and a court settlement. 

One of the most notable cases is the Purdue Pharma case: 

Case Study: Purdue Pharma And The Opioid Epidemic 

Take, for instance, the Opioid Crisis in the USA. 

The company Purdue Pharma marketed a drug known as ‘Oxycontin’ using marketing claims that the drug wasn’t harmful, trying to redefine what it means to have a “substance use disorder” and trying to claim that addiction to Oxy medications is only “pseudoaddiction”. Their marketing was so successful that it worked, with doctors and pharmacists prescribing the drug as pain relief. 

It quickly became evident that users became addicted to the drug, requiring higher dosages and going to any length to get it. This created an issue with patients purchasing high-strength opioids from non-authorised dealers, resulting in the deaths of numerous people. 

The state of Oklahoma was hit particularly badly by the opioid epidemic, so much so that they opened a legal case against Purdue Pharma for deceptive marketing. In 2019 Perdue Pharma settled this case by agreeing to pay 270 million dollars to the state of Oklahoma to help fund treatment and research for those facing addiction due to their drug. 

Final Thoughts, 

We hope this blog has helped you understand your question, “what is pharma marketing?”. The main thing to consider when marketing any pharma product is ethics – keep it truthful, honest and detailed so medical professionals remain informed about the properties of the pharmaceutical.

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