Eyeforpharma es un punto de encuento para todos los stackeholders que trabajan en la salud, donde se intercambian ideas para estar al día de las tendencias y prácticas de la industria farmacéutica. Anualmente se celebran varios eventos por las principales ciudades del mundo, publicando después informes y otros contenidos de valor. Su objetivo es facilitar este intercambio a través de la discusión y el debate. Más de 850 profesionales acudieron a esta cita internacional, celebrado en el Centro de Convenciones Internacionales de Barcelona (CCIB) del 19 al 21 de marzo.
Pharma Market cuenta con la colaboración de Eyeforpharma, quien nos ha cedido para este número tres entrevistas. La primera de ellas, Feel the Fear: Go Digital Anyway!, trata sobre los cambios radicales que están surgiendo en la industria farmacéutica, pues hay que tener en cuenta que ya no está en nuestras manos controlar las marcas. Las compañías necesitan ahora canalizar la marca “humana”, es decir, ser capaces de relacionarse de una forma amigable y discreta tanto con los doctores como con los pacientes.
En el segundo, Improve the Patient Experience Through Communication and Collaboration, se habla sobre la adhrencia al tratamiento y su impacto sobre la calidad de vida del paciente. Los laboratorios farmacéuticos, además de investigar y desarrollar un fármaco, deberían trabajar también en ella.
En el último, Show Highlight: Answering Big Questions on big Data, se comenta la masificación de la información en salud. Los pacientes están cada vez más informados gracias a internet, pero muchas veces no sabemos qué hacer con ella. Entonces, ¿cómo se puede sacar el máximo beneficio de ello?
Barcelona 2013: A Road Map For Pharma’s Future
From the 19-21 March 2013, 850 pharma professionals, doctors, inventors, payers and patients descended on Spain’s second largest city for the world’s largest annual commercial pharmaceutical event.
The goal? To explore how pharmaceutical companies should move their sales force and marketing into the future. While this is officially the first event called “eyeforpharma Barcelona”, the conference itself was borne out of the elevenyear- old SFE summit which has already successfully driven many changes in the pharmaceutical industry. Frequently flying ahead of the curve, SFE introduced us to the once-novel idea of “Key Account Management” and encouraged the industry to move beyond fancy physician dinners and rounds of golf to a more precise and finessed style of sales, helping cement best practices which are widespread within the industry today.
As well as Sales Force Excellence, the conference also highlights the need for a more effective adoption of digital technology, something which up until now, the industry have been slow to respond to.
Over the course of the three day summit, doctors, patients and decision makers spoke about how they see their relationships evolving within big pharma. Pharma companies shared and exchanged early examples of new, innovative practices and thought leaders shared their radical visions for the industry’s future. Topics included sales and marketing, digital, patient adherence, market access and medical devices. With sales and marketing being the main focus topic areas within this area included: multichannel marketing, CRM, closed loop marketing and the evolution of key opinion leaders.
In this edition’s Special we have been given exclusive access to feature three interviews with speakers from the event. Firstly we catch up with Angel Gonzalez from Ideasgoraz and Veronica Botet, Global Digital and Social Media PR Manager at GE Healthcare on why pharma are reluctant to embrace digital technology. Secondly we here a first-hand account from 22 year old cancer survivor Jason Loo who challenged pharma with “what would it take for patients to become equal partners from the outset?” in his presentation Changing the balance of power. Lastly we hear from James Sawyer, CEO of Prism Ideas, on big data and how we need to build the technology to answer the questions we want answers to rather than building our questions around what our current technology can handle.
1) Feel the Fear: Go Digital Anyway!
Pharma is currently experiencing a number of radical changes, according to Ángel González, Founder & CEO of social media advertising company, Ideagoras, and Veronica Botet, Global Digital and Social Media PR Manager at GE Healthcare. “On top of the expiration of patents and the demands for expertise from the market’s sales force, we now must deal with the relatively unknown digital world – and the new e-patient.”
In this new environment, González maintains that is important to re-assess attitudes towards company products and the target customer base. “We have to bear in mind that we are no longer in control of our own brands. Companies now need to channel the ‘humankind brand’ – they must be able to relate in an amicable yet unobtrusive way with both the doctors and the patients.”
We are no longer in control of our own brands. Companies now need to channel the ‘humankind brand
Engaging and communicating with end users through appropriate dialogue via social networks should be just as important as listening to the demands of the stakeholders for growth and return, says González. In fact, the two could easily go hand in hand. Yet first the men tality of the industry towards social media has to change. “Technological developments are not hindering the uptake of digital in pharma. Rather, it is attitude of the market towards this type of communication. The benefits are not recognized as digital is simply associated with risk and potential failure – and drug firms are afraid of this.”
The lack of definitive regulation with regards social media and the related concern of self-censorship does play a large part in this reticence to migrate to social media. But if companies combine basic ethical considerations, and a certain amount of monitoring and supervision, with these new technologies, they may actually realize just how beneficial dialogue via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or any other social channel can be for their business.
There are a number of firms that are beginning to realize this, says Botet, but the industry should continue to look forward. “It’s about time that we stopped dwelling on the fact that we’ve been slow to adopt this technology. We should now start to move on and think about how we’re going to address that and how we’re going to catch up.”
On the Global Stage
Nevertheless, certain regions across the globe are at many varying stages of digital awareness. For a global pharmaceutical company with many hubs worldwide, it can be therefore quite difficult to ensure the same level of adoption across the entire organization. Botet recognizes this. “Although we have standard adoption strategy that’s applicable globally we’re also trying to make sure that different region gets the support they need to encourage and allow social media activity in their geography. This involves developing appropriate methods that are specific to these markets.”
Despite the very best attempts at uniformity, González reveals that the front runner in adoption is North America with Europe trailing at a distant second. But it is in Latin America where the uptake could really do with significant improvement. “Addressing the issue of social media or multi-channel in Mexico, it shocked me that the focus was simply on the device itself, the iPad, the electronic visual aid. It had nothing to do with this open-minded vision of collaboration through social media.”
Elsewhere, however, other emerging markets are proving a lot more receptive to the digital trend. Different regions in Asia, namely China, are very active in social media, according to Botet, and she intends to introduce an existing cross-platform social media structure to assist this activity in the country. She explains: “It’s an awareness campaign to talk about healthy living and lifestyles, we basically ask people to share how they keep fit and healthy. Initially, we just used Twitter, but this year we want to take the campaign global and that includes China, where we chose Sina Weibo as our platform.”
Addressing the issue of social media or multichannel in Mexico, it shocked me that the focus was simply on the device itself […] It had nothing to do with this open-minded vision of collaboration through social media
Naturally, as with any new initiative – and particularly in heavily regulated markets – there are bound to be some legal and regulatory hoops to jump through.
Botet finds the best way to get the relevant officials on board is to help them understand how these new initiatives work. “I usually liaise with them before we launch any new platform or initiative, tell them what we want to do and we find solutions together. Understanding how to actually use the product/service can assist the sale itself.”
By highlighting the effectiveness of digital communication and the positive impact it can then have on the global healthcare system, Botet believes that she creates a vision of a prospect that is hard to pass up. “It’s a direct channel to all your audiences, to whoever you want to address. You can convey your message in your own words and you don’t have to rely on third parties.”
A platform for real-time discussion for both physicians and patients is a very welcome scenario yet González reiterates that it does need to be mentored. “But pharma companies have the opportunity to do this effectively. Most importantly, they have the obligation to convey the proper message to empower these patients in the right way.”
But what is really impressive about digital communication is the ability to gather and utilize the relevant feedback to improve services and products so that the end users (doctors and patients) ultimately benefit. A natural consequence of this, Botet says, is the trust that it will generate in the particular brand.
Building this trust, and breaking down the age-old gap between pharmaceutical industry and the general population is probably one of the greatest rewards of communicating through social media, says González. “We are evolving from a window shopping site to a digital eco-system where the public have the ability to participate and co-create brands with you. There is a great opportunity here for the industry. Pharma is committed to the health of the population, and this message can be clearly conveyed from them to the general public.”
2) Improve the Patient Experience Through Communication and Collaboration
By Lucy Brake
Cancer survival rates have improved vastly in the past few decades. More successful, targeted treatments today mean that rather than the illness being the grim “death sentence” often described on TV and by the press, a patient is instead provided treatment to make the disease manageable or to destroy the malignant cells altogether.
While there’s a long way to go until the scientific community unveil the sought-after Holy Grail – a cure for cancer (or cures for cancers to be more accurate), life expectancy has in many instances improved two-fold since the 1970s and 80s. However with ever improving, and aggressive treatments now available, there is also another aspect of the treatment pharma companies and healthcare providers need to consider – the side effects.
Jason Loo was told last year, at the age of 22, that he had a rare form of testicular cancer. The news came two days after his graduation from Warwick University. His experience with the NHS system is a stark reminder of the power the pharma industry has to improve patient outcomes and experiences.
Jason was first admitted to hospital on the day of his graduation with suspected GORD (Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease) and sent home the same day, when he was brought back in for an altogether different diagnosis two days later, “So basically they say that it’s confirmed that it’s cancer, they told us what type of cancer it is, and then they started explaining, I think they started giving me a lot of booklets, Macmillan booklets, for me to read, because I had a Macmillan nurse with me at the time in Coventry.”
Jason went into a period of denial, rapidly followed by a desire to be proactive about his condition. “After a few days, I’d settled down emotionally, I started going online searching for information on [my condition]. The instinct for our generation is to Google. If NHS pops up, then great, you go into the NHS website; otherwise you go wherever it takes you.”
The instinct for our generation is to Google. If NHS pops up, then great, you go into the NHS website; otherwise you go wherever it takes you
It is becoming increasingly apparent that many patients, particularly the younger more information savvy generation, want to be in control of their treatment and the way that therapies are delivered rather than simply being part of a standard process that appears to have little room for flexibility. Jason explains that it is all about having the options presented, recommendations made and the freedom of choice lying with the patient: “I want to know what the doctors recommend, and whether I would choose that recommendation or not, well that will be up to me”.
The treatment, it turns out, was a cocktail of Bleomycin, Etoposide and Cisplatin (BEP) chemotherapy. Jason’s cancer was a particularly rare strain of testicular cancer, a testicular teratoma, located in his chest, and the recommendation was four cycles of chemotherapy.
The side effects for chemotherapy are particularly unpalatable, as well as the risk of infection, patients are also warned about bouts of nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea and tinnitus to name just a few. However, during post-hydration Jason found himself suffering sleep deprivation for quite obvious and yet apparently unconsidered reasons.
“They always gave me it late at night. Sometimes I’d ask them if I could have it earlier [in the day] so I can sleep through rather than wee all the time. But I was always told they had to follow procedure. I would rather have had post-hydration in the morning because it meant [at night] I always needed to use the toilet. You don’t get enough sleep, in a hospital you can’t sleep during the day because they always come and disturb you to take you medicine, there are people walking around. It’s a real problem.”
“It’s like we don’t really have a voice in how we want things to be”, he observes. “It’s only when we insist on changing something that they will do it”.
It’s like we don’t really have a voice in how we want things to be. It’s only when we insist on changing something that they will do it
At the time that Jason was treated he ended up in an adult ward where nearly all of the patients were over 60 years, leaving him feeling very isolated. He did have the support of Macmillan and CLIC Sargent nurses who specialize in pediatric cancer patients. His chemotherapy finished in October 2012, which was the time that the Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) unit opened. So whilst he was never warded in the TCT unit, he has visited many times, including for a monthly gathering of a cancer support group which has been a hugely valuable support for him: “It’s only after I had my treatment that I have met a couple of young cancer patients in the TCT unit. It’s very important to have access to TCT and talk to someone who has already been through this experience”, explains Jason.
He believes that the system itself doesn’t really support patient choices, decision-making and preferences. The supporting structure that comes with the implementation of the pharmaceuticals is as important as making sure the drugs actually work. Patients want to know before they have a treatment what the side effects will be and what the options are for delivery, meaning engagement by the pharma industry in the support networks and care systems is just as important as the science part of the business.
Engaging with patients at the very early stages of drug development will provide the opportunity to target research specifically to consumer preferences not just the needs. For instance, a patient might actually prefer one particular side effect over another. “So if you know what the consumers is likely to choose before a drug is developed, in the end people will prefer to use that drug” says Jason.
Collaboration and partnerships are also critical ways to attain this level of involvement. “Collaboration is extremely important, because you can’t just have a drug do what it’s supposed to do, it is also important to know how the drug is going to be given and to whom”, notes Jason. “So far, from what I see this collaboration is not happening – it is really minimal”. So collaboration between the pharma industry and the healthcare community, patient advocates group and patient communities to support the optimal usage of drugs is going to be increasingly important to ensure that the best patient outcomes are being achieved.
So it is clearly time for the pharma industry to get more involved in patient support and outcomes, particularly as these patients are increasingly searching online for answers. As Jason so succinctly puts it “I think the drug companies’ responsibility is not just to research and develop a drug, it’s also about supporting how that drug is given to the patient and is used”.
I think the drug companies responsibility is not to research and develop a drug. It’s also about supporting how that drug isw given to the patient and is used
3) Answering Big Questions on Big Data
Brake Every day millions of people are sharing their experiences with medicines over the internet. With such a plethora of information comes a huge opportunity for the pharma industry to learn more about patient experiences in the drive to deliver improved products to the market. But the use of big data also raises many unanswered questions from the industry. So how can we really capture all the benefits big data offers?
James Sawyer, CEO of Prism Ideas, has been working in the field of big data for many years and believes that the answer revolves around building the technology to fit the important questions: “Rather than wondering what questions can we ask given the available technology, we are saying let’s build the technology to answer the questions that we need to ask.”
Rather than wondering what questions can we ask given the available technology, we are saying let’s build the technology to answer the questions that we need to ask
“You’ve got comments, forums, blogs, micro blogs, social networks, and then ratings and reviews – so it’s important to take a broad brush approach so you collect data from as many different sources as possible.”
Pharma hasn’t had the best experience with big data. As a fairly conservative industry, the generic approaches available for analyzing patient reporting have not been particularly satisfactory. Sawyer explains that both the dictionarybased (pulling key words) and sediment-based (identifying key emotions) approaches simply haven’t worked because they end up being taken out of context. This can result in major problems with the accuracy of data. “In fact, the chances are that you’ll perhaps only get 10 per cent accuracy if you use that approach in terms of what’s being said”, observes Sawyer.
So he is proposing a different approach, a variation on relational modeling, where a number of predicates including key words, contextual language, emotional triggers, and other specific details are all linked together: “Using this kind of model you can achieve 80 to 90 per cent accuracy of data”. Pretty compelling statistics.
The text that is gathered off the social media sites is all “free text”, and when aggregated from numerous sources, will results in databases utilizing multiple database structures and formatting. As such, the vital next step for this information is for it to go through a process of “normalization”, during which it will be formatted into a single, usable stream of data.
“Once you’ve got that free text, then you aggregate the data and then filter it according to particular categories that are within that data. You find out whether the patient is talking about health, to start off with, because we’ll look at a car website, because people will talk about their bad back on that.”
“So you find out first whether the topic is in fact health related, and whether your chosen topics are mentioned within it, so you filter out that way around. But the free text is the raw material, wherever it comes from, and once you’ve got that data aggregated and you’ve pulled the filters, then you can start looking and seeing whether specific data points are mentioned within it.”
Automation is another critical feature because, Sawyer points out, as soon as you put subjectivity from a human reviewer in, noise is added to the problem. For instance, the algorithms Prism Ideas employ, identifies the magnitude of the benefit that the patient needs to identify and then this allows a gradation of their statement.
Questions are often raised about the sources of the data and whether the information is correct, what kind of permission is needed or how to keep it anonymous.
“Sourcing this sort of data is like reviewing data from the literature. Anything that is posted on the internet is public data, it’s publically available. Yes, there are those discussions about Facebook and its privacy rules in terms of the legalities of it, the data is there, it’s published for all intents and purposes. The data that they have provided is a personal disclosure and it’s utilized in an anonymous fashion. It’s complicated but that’s the way it works.”
One of the other challenges for the industry is the requirement to report any potential side effect as soon as they become aware of them, even the incomplete cases, so potentially every single adverse event that is reported on the internet must be reported. This, notes Sawyer, could result in an awfully large burden of work which neither the pharma industry nor the regulators want. But he has some thoughts on potential remedies: “One solution is that we can look at the data as observational studies, so using the information as a signal detection mechanism to identify things that might warrant employing traditional approaches”.
But what can be done to counteract the inherent bias that can comes through in any data from the internet. Sawyer simply doesn’t see this as a problem. The data is just so big that any bias is “drowned out” by all the other data. One of the values that can be garnered through the normalization processes is identifying repeat individuals.
The industry is now discussing the possibility of using big data for a wide range of business activities, such as planning clinical trial recruitment. There are also benefits from utilizing such information for gene pools to help identify patients with a particular target for genetic therapy. Sawyer’s team has completed big data evaluation projects on a wide range of health topics, including hay fever, multiple sclerosis and stopping smoking.
There is also whole new big data field that has recently started up in the UK where the government has indicated that they are going to open their patient data to the industry. This, explains Sawyer, is big data, but in a different form as it is already semistructured. There’ll be free text in there but there will also be structured diagnoses and information on medicines. “At the moment the use of big data within the pharma industry is piecemeal and that’s really because the process is so complicated. But there is some huge potential out there if we get the process and technology right”.
At the moment the use of big data within the pharma industry is piecemeal and that’s really because the process is so complicated. But there is some huge potential out there if we get the process and technology right
Big data offers some significant benefits, both in the clinical development of pharmaceuticals and in combating patient non-adherence, and it seems that because there is simply so much data out there the industry will have no choice but to take notice of it. “Pharma will take more and more time and attention to find out what patients are saying in general, as well as from big data. They will also take more time to utilize that data that’s available from other sources, be they health care records or other places we talked about, and then the regulators will get involved. In fact the regulators are getting involved”, says Sawyer, and if that is the case, then this is a topic pharma need to get to grips with sooner rather than later.
Want to know more?
You can purchase all the presentations including those from Ángel González, Jason Loo and James Sawyer plus over 70 hours of audio from this year’s summit. Just scan the QR code or visit our website.
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Barcelona 2014 – Decisions are made by those who show up!
Next year, eyeforpharma Barcelona will be 12 years old. The event, largely considered a cornerstone of innovation and ideas generation, will take place in March in sunny Barcelona.
The 3-day summit will provide discussion on new projects from those leading the way to make the most of every engagement under this cost-constrained environment. The first day will consist of a key-note day with the most forward- thinking leaders in their field. Day 2 and 3 will then split into focussed parallel tracks highlighting best practice and case studies:
- Sales Force Effectiveness: what does the new profile of a sales representatives look like; how to motivate your sales force in a tough environment, fully utilise sales analytics for full rep performance management.
- The future of pharma: find out what the real innovators are doing and what the key lessons learned have been.
- Lifecycle management: what drives effective marketing of customer facing activities, plan your campaign for full internal and external buy-in, case studies capturing all key stakeholder needs.
- CLM and CRM integration: manage your customer interactions seamlessly, deliver greater value to your customer, how to gain buy-in and more.
- Multichannel Mix: Multichannel customer journey, ROI, wellness vs. health, update on multichannel, new trends in pharma business.
- Creating customer-centric content: focus on creative communication with your customer to increase levels of engagement.
Who should attend?
This conference is a targeted industry event for senior level management and decision-makers. This year, over 65% of attendees were C-Levels, VPs, Global Heads, Directors and Management from top pharma companies including: Bayer, Pfizer, Novartis, AstraZeneca, LEO, Novo Nordisk, Lilly, GSK, J&J, Sanofi, Roche and BMS.
Register your interest for 2014
To be the first to receive the brochure and news for 2014 please register your interest at the below link or use the QR code alongside to access it: www.eyeforpharma.com/barcelona2014