Pharma Marketing

How Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) changes pharmaceutical marketing in the U.S.?

Will Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) change the pharmaceutical marketing in USA? According to Dorothy Wetzel, founder and Chief Extrovert at Extrovertic there are three ways it will.

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Prot...
English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As Ms. Wetzel explains in her “Three ways ACA (Obamacare) changes pharma marketing” post at Pharmaforum, Obamacare enforces on the US market a new reality. The three main points are:

  1. It’s a payer-patient world

  2. Multicultural marketing is mandatory

  3. Value takes center stage

Let’s take a look at the points raised by Dorothy Wetzel.
What does payer patient mean? In the US after ACA HCPs will lose the power to decide which medication should be prescribed. This role will be taken first by payers (insurance companies) who will set strict rules on reimbursement. Secondly, physicians will be obliged to follow their employer’s policy, and most of the HCPs is employed by hospitals or networks of practices. Third, but not less important point is that patients as co-payers will be more careful on what medication is chosen and prescribed.
What it means for pharma marketers in the US is that instead of focusing mostly on HCPs, they will need to coƶperate with Market Access teams to gain support of payers. Whenever possible it will be also worth to use DTC marketing, which is still allowed in the US.
Multicultural marketing is something that Big Pharma is familiar with, however up until today global campaign meant “everywhere but US”. Now, also US-based Pharma marketers will need to speak different languages, and Spanish will be the first to learn quickly. Due to social inequality in the United States it is estimated that almost half of newly insured Clients of ACA will come from multicultural communities. For them Pharma has to speak their language, using specific cultural codes. It may also mean that we need more diversity in the field force as well.
The third point raised by Ms Wetzel is value as the center point of the message. This is absolutely clear, taking into account the payer getting more decisive power. Pharma has to prove that the product provides enough benefit to be worth to reimbursed by the payer.
It is worth to note, that this changes, although very impactful for the US market, are actually bringing it closer to the other markets, especially EU, where role of the payer is already very important, and regional campaigns are performed in many languages with different cultural factors in mind.

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