Several decades ago (primarily in the 1980’s), a revolution occurred in the marketing of pharmaceutical products. These products were previously marketed almost exclusively to physicians and other direct providers of care. Beginning in the 80’s, this radically changed. With the marketing of drugs like Propecia, Prozac, and later, a flood of sleeping pills (Ambien, Lunesta) and erectile dysfunction drugs (Viagra, Cealis), the pharmaceutical marketing world was transformed. Since then, this trend has carried over (although a bit less dramatically) to other aspects of health care.
Here is a quick (humorous…a couple of of these are satirical) video that captures some of these for a quick sample:
I ask you to consider the impact of this development in several ways. Below are some general questions I propose to guide our discussion on this transformation of health care marketing. Feel free to respond to them directly, or use your own creativity and approach this issue from different directions….your call.
1. How has this development changed health care? The doctor/patient relationship? How has it changed the trajectory of health care costs?
2. What are some examples of how this change (marketing direct-to-consumer vs. marketing to the intermediary) has occurred in other sectors of health care?
3. Are these changes for the better? If yes, how have they improved health care and the health care experience? If no, what steps might you suggest to regulate these marketing approaches?
4. How does the growing impact of social media change the calculus on health care marketing going forward?
5. Etc., etc.