Sometimes cold commerce can substantially change the way we live and see things. Competition can improve products, services and access to them. When it comes to healthcare in India we can see tangible results of pharma marketing.
From a closed economy with few monopolistic companies, we now have a thriving medical market that is among the world’s most critical. Not only is the Indian market itself one of the world’s biggest, its companies are slowly emerging as the dominating players in the international market.
Good healthcare was the domain of government hospitals, since private hospitals were few and far in between. While there was access to some generic drugs, access to medicines that are at the forefront of research was almost impossible. When it was available, it was often too expensive for the common man.
The opening of the sector and marketing by pharma companies has completely changed that. Many of the pharma companies are today making generic branded drugs that are a fraction of their international prices. Competition has also forced companies to bring some kind of price parity and affordability in the market.
A recent court ruling also allowed Indian drug makers to produce cheaper alternative of certain cutting-edge drugs if these met certain conditions. Moreover, international companies marking up drug prices on flimsy upgrades and patenting has also come under scanner. This affordability now extends to the entire healthcare sector as the government and industry dynamics work to create a more meaningful access to healthcare.
Rise Of The Small Sector
The pharma sector in India was dominated by big corporations or the Indian branches of big pharma international companies. The widening of the sector with the mushrooming of small and medium companies has been a boon. It has brought in fierce competition in pharma marketing as everyone now fights for a piece of the very lucrative Indian market.
The result is more affordable drugs and multitude of options. So, effective has been the SME sector that it accounts for a substantial part of the industry net worth. These companies also have a large share of the international market, propelling the Indian pharma sector to dominate the international market in terms of volume.
Pharma marketing often works by raising awareness. When we need to create a market for a new drug, we often start with the basics — educating the people about the disease and its cures. There are many tools companies use for this — from social media to workshops. Some companies also fund awareness camps.
The net result is that we see a greater awareness of such products and health conditions among the people at large. The average person is today more aware of the options in front of him/her and how to access healthcare services.
Connecting With Users
Every marketing campaign is ultimately about connecting with the market. The Indian pharma sector can no longer afford to continue in a vacuum where the buyer would by default buy only your product because he/she has no other alternative. Today companies actively seek out more contact with its users, including doctors, physicians, pharmacists and the public at large.
Competition and the inevitable advent of science has brought in the other benefit — going digital. No pharma company can today afford to ignore this tool and it alone has completely revolutionised the pharma industry. The benefits of the digital revolution are multifaceted.
- Better communication: Pharma companies are using multiple digital tools to connect with their users — from emails to the social media. It’s a two-way communication where you can air your grievances and the company will work swiftly to address this.
- Providing services: Pharma companies today also offer a host of services. A number of ohrama apps have taken the concept further by providing diagnostic services.
- Improving adherence: Today we have healthcare companies and centres connected through a digital network that monitor patents’ health and ensure they keep appointments.
- Improved sales practices: Digital has become the new marketplace with pharma companies using its reach to sell their products at a lesser price and to a wider market.
- R&D: Digital platforms offer one of the best means to gather data with Big Data becoming critical for product development.
Pharma marketing in India has become more fierce, patient centric and dynamic with small, medium and big companies fighting to establish their space.