Author Archives | Richard

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Digital Engagement = Pharmacy Margins X 3.6!!!

April 27, 2017



Check this out. Here, you will find guidance from CVS on how to be a good partner to this chain pharmacy monolith. Sort of elegantly, simple actually. CVS wants their suppliers to take full analytical and marketing advantage of their ExtraCare program. Digitally engaged members of this program provide CVS with 3.6 times the profit margin exhibited by other store customers.

As usual, there are some things to think about here. Like. Does enrollment in this program make customers more profitable, or do customers who are likely to be more profitable tend to sign up for the program. Or both.

 Bottom Line. Whichever way the causal arrow points here, CVS is very smart to use a sophisticated digital program to tie in good customers, and even smarter to get their supply partners centered on the program as well.

 Good job!

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What Will Zuckerberg Do About Live Violence on FB???

April 26, 2017



Yup. Once again unintended consequences. FB sets up its new live video service, designed to enhance its social media experience, understandably never thinking for a moment that it would be used to stream acts of violence like murder and rape. But it was! And is! Check this out. What you will see here is an article arguing that FB needs to do a better job of content monitoring. I guess that means getting videos of murders taken down more quickly??? One hour later instead of two hours later? I also guess that strikes me as a day late, dollar short solution. The deed is done!

I am reminded of a term I learned in graduate school. Demand Characteristics. Check the term out in Wikipedia. Demand characteristics are any “subtle cues” in the environment that make people behave differently. In a psychological experiment. In real life.

Bottom Line. So here is the question. Does the ability to broadcast their acts live on FB make lunatics more likely to commit unspeakable crimes? Maybe, maybe not. But we are not criminologists. What are the implications for us? 

Think about it. As marketers, we are in the business of changing behavior to make it more accepting of our (clients’) products. How can demand characteristics be used to facilitate this change? How might they get in the way?

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What Can I Say???

April 25, 2017


Poop emoji

Check this out. As I read this piece, I must admit I am somewhat dumbfounded. Read it and think about it carefully.

Here, you will see that there is actually a product team that believes that humorous (?) emoji’s will help them to sell its product in the now competitive idiopathic constipation marketplace. The rationalization here, if I understand it correctly (?), is that the various specific graphic forms of poop (sorry!) will help patients to better describe their problem to their physicians.

Bottom Line. Really? Once again, I am left to ponder whether this a solution in search of a problem. Answering this question would involve us knowing whether there is currently a poop communications gap in the clinical setting, and whether this gap would be closed by patients pointing to various poop emoji’s.

Like I said…Really???

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Good Question, What Is A “Micropractice?”

April 21, 2017

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Micro practice

Check this out for an answer to this thorny question. According to this blogging physician, a micropractice is nothing more and nothing less than a doctor practicing “in a small office.” According to the description offered, this apparent return to basics can cure many of the ills and inefficiencies that are found when practices morph into the huge operations that many have become.

Bottom Line. My first reaction to this neologism was to laugh out loud. BUT. When I thought more about it, the notion of at least a subset of practices going back to basics made some sense to me. Overhead has overcome many practices, and the result is that both physicians and patients suffer as everyone scurries to pay for the overhead. 

 Spend a couple of minutes to explore the blogging physician’s website. There you will learn what Dr. Leeds holds out to be the advantages of this approach to medicine, so that you can more intelligently ponder the plusses and minuses here.

 For some doctors, for some patients, this going “back to basics” could be a logical move!

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Medical Microcelebrities

April 20, 2017


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Check out this blog post. What you will see is the blogging physician’s description of a new breed of non-physician experts who use the Social Media to spread their perspectives on issues related to healthcare, and even to start new movements related to healthcare issues. Remember the vaccines-cause-autism movement? Interesting that lay people, rather than physicians, have most typically stepped up to serve this thought leadership role.

Bottom Line. In this and subsequent posts, the blogger makes some important points about this phenomenon. What are the credentials of these “opinion leaders?” AND. What duty do they have to disclose any financial conflicts of interest or other biases related to the opinions they are expressing? 

As with everything else, consider the source!

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New “Kinds Of Jobs” In The Healthcare Sector

April 19, 2017



Check this out. What you will see is a CNBC report that Alphabet and other high tech firms are busily recruiting professionals in the healthcare space. To what end? For what jobs? I am not sure, but Alphabet has made it a habit of hiring the best talent and putting them to good use. My bet is that although they have protested that they are not going to be a “Healthcare Company,” there is a strategy behind this hiring that will play out sooner rather than later.

Bottom Line. It used to be that commercial jobs in healthcare were pretty traditional. Product management, marketing research, Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, etc. What kinds of new positions will now be opening, entirely discontinuous with the positions that were previously available? Again, I don’t know, but my guess is that there will be some genuinely exciting opportunities for those with the right (?) qualifications.

Watch this carefully!


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Facebook And Dry Eyes

April 18, 2017


Facebook 4

Check this out. What you will see is a success story. A story of Social Media, more specifically FB, being used by Allergan to share patient testimonial videos in support of the use of Restasis for dry eye.

The brand needed to be refreshed after 13 years on the market, and was facing competition for the first time. Given that, Allergan’s decade plus reliance on one Ophthalmologist, who herself is a Restasis patient, to communicate the product’s whole marketing story through TV commercials needed to be significantly augmented. Data indicate that patient testimonial videos on FB are doing the trick.

Bottom Line. This makes sense to me. Like we discussed recently with endometriosis, my impression is that many patients don’t really know if they have clinically dry eyes or not, and listening to patients’ stories can help them not only to recognize the symptoms of the condition, but also the advantages to be gained by treating it.

Well done!

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Putting The “Me” In Endometriosis

April 17, 2017


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Check this piece out and see what you think. My initial reaction was to gag at the “cute” verbiage shown in the headline above. Seems that AbbVie has partnered with Dancing With The Stars’ Julianne Hough, herself a sufferer from this condition that effects 1 in 10 women, to raise consciousness about endometriosis.

Here’s my problem. I am not a big believer in raising awareness of medical conditions in general. People who still need to have their awareness raised about such conditions as breast cancer cause me some pause. BUT. Callaway has produced a whole series of pink golf club head covers for this purpose, and I saw many sets of these covers adorning the golf clubs of the pro’s playing in the Heritage golf tournament this week. Ernie Els is doing the same thing with his blue head covers for Autism Awareness. Etc. Whatever!

But, further consideration caused me to realize that endometriosis is different. Probably. I am guessing that most women don’t know that it affects 1 in 10 of them, can’t recognize the symptoms, etc.

Bottom Line. Like most things, consciousness raising is one of those activities that should be applied judiciously and thoughtfully. Translated, that means that we should stop yapping about things that people are already well aware of, and start to make some carefully targeted, action-oriented noise about things that are both common and under recognized

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Do Patients Have A “Right To Try?”

April 14, 2017



Frankly, I’ve sometimes wondered about this. What if you are a terminally ill patient, find a clinical trial that might provide your last hope, and get rejected from participation?

“Right To Try” legislation deals with this thorny situation. As you will see in this ASCO position paper, legislation is being debated at both the state and federal levels that would provide “expanded” access to drugs for terminal patients outside of clinical protocols. Of interest here is the fact that ASCO, the group of physicians most directly involved with such patients, has come out against expanded access. Reason? They believe that RTT legislation would not substantially increase access, and that the risks of such legislation outweigh the benefits.

Bottom Line. This is a tough one. Take some time, read the position paper and see what you think. I think I disagree with ASCO. But they have though a lot more about this issue than I have.

Maybe too much!

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Don’t Worry! You Have An 80% Chance Of Being Diagnosed Correctly!!!

April 13, 2017


Mayo Clinic

Sort of. When patients show up at the Mayo Clinic (pictured above) for a second opinion, fully 20% had been misdiagnosed by their Primary Care Physician. Moreover, in only 12% of cases do the experts totally agree with the original diagnosis, with the balance seeing partial agreement between the specialists and the PCP’s. Check it out in this Washington Post article.

As is pointed out in the article, diagnosis is difficult. There are 10,000 diseases and only 200-300 symptoms. Little wonder that diagnostic error contributes to 10% of patient deaths.

Bottom Line. Interesting. Second opinions by experts are clearly valuable. BUT. When should a patient seek a second opinion? Should patients be instructed on how to make this all-important determination? Should professionals in our vertical be involved in this educational process?

I am thinking yes! And yes!! And yes!!!

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