Why Are Refill Prescriptions More Important Than Initial Prescriptions to My Bottom Line?

I continue to hear product managers say that the main focus of their marketing strategy is to get physicians to write the initial prescriptions.

But product managers who only look at initial prescription sales are selling their product short! In fact, taking steps to persuade patients to refill their prescriptions can increase total prescription sales by 50%.

When you apply the patient compliance research statistics to the typical DTC ad, the loss in sales is clear.

Of every 100 people who read a DTC ad for a chronic medication, 7 will receive a prescription. BUT only 1 person will still be taking it by the 4th refill! Assuming that all 7 patients should have stayed on the medication, total potential sales for the initial prescription and 4 refills would have been 35. In reality, 6 people dropped out by the time of the 4th refill. Only 16 prescriptions were actually filled. That means you have lost more than 50% of your potential sales by the time of the 4th refill … because the person was not educated and motivated along the way.

This is why it is clear that a product manager can significantly increase sales by looking beyond the initial prescription. The effect is even more profound for a chronic medication … because the goal has to be to keep patient on the drug for more than 4 refills. Patient education programs can motivate patients to stay in treatment and increase patient retention.

(For more information on this topic, click here.)

Source: Consumer Health Information Corporation Patient Education Update Vol. 3 No. 10