Do Consumers Know Your Product Is Not Just Another Commodity?


“A challenge facing the healthcare industry is that consumers don’t understand why they need full information about their medications. Consumers don’t see the difference between a prescription drug and commodities such as food, cosmetics, or a VCR.

That point was made by Consumer Health Information Corporation President, Dr. Dorothy Smith—one of 120 patient information experts invited by U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary, Donna Shalala to participate in the first national multidisciplinary symposium on verbal counseling.

A direct result of debates and planning activities evolving from the 1995 FDA MedGuide proposal on effective patient information, the symposium was held to develop a series of strategic plans to improve the effectiveness of oral counseling by pharmacists.

  • “It’s one thing to buy a VCR and not read the manual,” Smith said. “It’s far more serious to purchase a prescription medication and not understand how to use it.”
  • Product managers can improve compliance—and increase sales— by providing health professionals with high quality patient education materials on their products.

According to Dr. Smith, this has to change if we are going to reverse the high costs of noncompliance incurred by patients, employers, pharmaceutical companies, and healthcare professionals.

What Every Marketing Manager Should Ask:
  • Am I sure patients get the information I want them to have about my product?
  • Am I supplying health professionals with “patient-friendly” written instructions that can be dispensed with the medication?
  • Am I confident patients will use my instructions rather than information from other—potentially less reliable—sources?
  • Is my information readily at hand so pharmacists will find it easier to counsel patients—and increase compliance with my product?

The result will be enhanced patient brand loyalty to your product.