A Bookmark (and Conclusion) to Marketing in Big Pharma

I finished my report! This report took a lot longer than expected because of technical difficulties with RefWorks, but it’s done, and my concluding thoughts are included throughout this post! My research report was organized into eight sections sandwiched between my introduction and conclusion. Included are sections relating to the history of pharmaceutical marketing and corresponding legislation, effective marketing techniques, target audiences, and how pharmaceutical marketing tactics affect the consumer and doctor. Additionally, I analyzed both benefits and detriments of pharmaceutical marketing. I ultimately concluded that the current pharmaceutical business model is not sustainable, and the unethical marketing techniques that are commonly used are hurting the industry by turning away doctors and potential customers from treatment options. The industry as a whole must focus more on the consumer, allowing for flexible pricing schemes and providing personalized care. In addition, more money must be invested into research and development, with a focus on collaboration, to ensure generations of pharmaceutical success and a loyal customer base.

Although many marketing tactics used today, and throughout the history of pharmaceutical marketing, may have good intentions, they are negatively impacting both doctors and consumers, and creating a general distrust toward the pharmaceutical industry. The industry must change itself, commit to a complete metamorphosis of its current business model and correct past wrongdoings before legislation unexpectedly forces these changes. By adapting before legislation is adopted, the pharmaceutical industry may gain more positive media attention to help build up consumer trust once again.

Marketing of pharmaceuticals is dominating in American society, and doctors lack adequate time during patient visits to properly explain how these advertisements work, or discuss cheaper or more effective alternatives. As the annual amount spent on healthcare and the number of prescriptions per person increase along with the amount spent on pharmaceutical marketing each year, it is natural to question the intentions of the pharmaceutical industry.The scope of treatment has generally increased for better or for worse, as patients request and receive specific drugs. On one hand, these marketing techniques encourage patients to visit their doctors. On the other hand, there has been an increase of both incorrectly and correctly prescribed drugs.

In the future, like in the past, legislation must be enacted to curb the growth of Big Pharma. Legislation is the first powerful step in creating change, and from there, the industry must adapt in response and focus more on the consumer. Executives in Big Pharma companies must listen to patients and create positive pricing pyramids to build the company brand by increasing consumer loyalty. Additionally, to prevent the industry’s collapse, Big Pharma must invest more in R&D, even if it sacrifices annual marketing expenditures. These high marketing expenditures ultimately hurt the industry’s relationship with the consumer, so investment into research and development can only propel the industry forward.

One of my questions that remained unanswered throughout this summer was how pharmaceutical marketing affected the cost of prescription drugs. Unfortunately, this information is currently lacking, and little quantitative data exists regarding this subject. This information would be vital in further determining how promotional activities affect the consumer and their annual cost of healthcare. If marketing practices are proven to increase the cost of prescription drugs, this would lead to a major call for reform of the industry. Additionally, more research must be done regarding pharmaceutical marketing online, and how these techniques may differ from the typical television commercial. The industry will continuously evolve, and the public must be updated with the most recent information regarding industry news to further protect the consumer.

Only time will tell how the industry shapes up. Many changes need to be made, especially concerning pricing schemes, the business model, unethical advertising techniques, and slowing innovation. The immediate future of the pharmaceutical industry is concerning, unless legislation is introduced and companies cater more towards the needs of their patients. Overall, the industry will continue to evolve and grow, and the Big Pharma Machine will continue to crash through these barriers, slowing until its eventual end.

This summer was a test of my research methodology. I learned about time management, and most importantly, that it’s okay to take breaks. I used RefWorks for the first time, and struggled, but learned how to cope with annoying technical issues and find work-arounds. Lastly, I learned about formatting reports and the research process.

My research process included gathering data and putting it into a document. Then, I made an outline, organizing my data by section. While creating my citations, I wrote my essay using the outline as a guideline. At this time, I wasn’t happy with how my citations were formatted, so I inserted numbers corresponding to the source where I would need to place a footnote. Finally, I edited my essay and inserted my footnotes. By the end of this process, I realized I had too many documents: data, an outline, a numbered bibliography, a normal bibliography, and an essay. Next time, I can streamline this process by organizing my data as I go, and working with technology along the way by creating and formatting citations.

Overall, I had a great time this summer gathering information and ultimately creating my report. This topic will never become irrelevant because of the constant evolution of the industry. If I did this same market analysis a decade later, an entirely different story would be told about Big Pharma and the ways its interacts with the everyday consumer. In the future, my research today could be a bookmark, a summary and analysis of marketing in the pharmaceutical industry thus far to be continued in the future. This exciting adventure has come to an end, and I am looking forward to witnessing the evolution of the pharmaceutical industry first-hand in the coming years!