"The pharma industry is the new health influencer, but it needs to digitise"
The pharmaceutical industry has undergone major changes in the last two years in the wake of the pandemic, notably in areas such as digitisation, personalised therapies and the active role of the patient, and changing purchasing models, among others.
In this context, the UPF Barcelona School of Management (UPF-BSM), has organised Next Challenge for Marketing Pharma, an online event to analyse the key trends in the sector that have been emerging in recent months, as well as to anticipate the future of the business and its professionals. "This conference is essential to understand the future of the sector from the perspective of transformational management, which we promote from UPF-BSM thanks to the most prominent experts in this field", said the Deputy Director General of the school, Natàlia Pascual.
This conference is essential to understand the future of pharmaceutical marketing from the perspective of transformational management, the one we promote at UPF-BSM
The session was attended by the academic directors of the Master in Pharmaceutical Marketing, Josep Maria Fàbregas and Juan Luis Fernández, as well as professionals from the sector such as Cristina Pérez, Director of Innovation and Commerce at Kantar; Marga Paytubi, Manager at Trinitat Pharmacy; Gonzalo Rodríguez, CEO and founder of Quantum-Sell; and Xavi Olba, Founding Partner of Elephant Jump.
Pharmacists, health influencers
"The only professionals who were physically close to users were pharmacists and, therefore, pharmaceutical advice has taken on more power after the pandemic", said Paytubi, who added: "It has been an interesting process, as it has turned pharmacists into health influencers". Along these lines, Kantar's Director of Innovation and Commerce recalled that consumers "are becoming more and more demanding and self-sufficient". "Beyond solving a pathology, patients want to feel good and know why", said Pérez.
Digital is part of customers' lives, and therefore pharmacies need to go digital. This requires training, but the sector's priority lies elsewhere, especially in Big Pharma
Both the speakers and the programme directors agreed that patients have become "culturised", as during the time they spent in confinement "they searched a lot on the internet". "Digital is already part of the lives of customers", acknowledged Olba, who pointed out that the pharmaceutical sector is "transforming the way it relates to customers". However, the Manager of Trinitat Pharmacy warned of the lack of resources for this. "There are pharmacists who are beginning to have some importance in social media, but in most cases it is still at an amateur level", she said, considering that there is a lack of training. "The industry should help in the digitisation of pharmacies, but the priority is another target, especially in Big Pharma", she said.
In this context, one of the major handicaps facing the sectors is the marketplace phenomenon. "As users, we expect shopping experiences similar to those we have on Amazon", insisted Pérez who, however, admitted that "it can be odd to buy pharmaceutical products in the same place where we buy drawing pins".
The Amazon effect
"What will happen in the immediate future has a lot to do with Amazon", Rodríguez said, referring to the concept of customer centricity. "Many companies talk about it, but very few apply it. In the pharma sector, we are obliged to do so", he added. "Our goal is patient centricity, and anything we do not transmit from this perspective will be far from our purpose: to take care of the patient".
The immediate future of the industry has a lot to do with Amazon and customer centricity. Our goal is to take care of the patient and anything we do not convey from this perspective will not be valid
In terms of technology, both Olba and Pérez highlighted the growing initiatives for patient segmentation, as well as applications with artificial intelligence that help you to resolve the pathology, introducing basic information about the symptomatology. "Being creative is not born, it is done", said the founding partner of Elephant Jump, who assured that creativity will be one of the key factors of the future. Along these lines, the CEO of Quantum-Sell explained that "constant training will be essential, not only to learn things, but also to make us reflect and improve processes".