The way things are going with our ability to effectively communicate with our prescription drug stakeholders, I think our business model is in for a big change. My clients—pharma, biotech and device companies—are losing the ability to differentiate themselves and drive demand due to regulation and an ever-complicating playing field.

What if the healthcare we get were to change so drastically that we no longer had primary care as a service point? I suspect that this has started to happen already. I personally have used a walk-in urgent care clinic (more than once), as well the in-pharmacy clinic at my local pharmacy. These customer service-oriented centers have to be either pulling “share” from PCPs or are at least picking up the overload. If our healthcare model were to go this way, I presume we will need more specialists, as they are likely to get more referrals faster. If we develop more specialists, then we could see a more competitive environment where they are competing for business with each other. Proliferation of these medical specialists would take time, of course, and perhaps we would see more healthcare professionals choosing to work in the walk-ins and urgent care clinics—possibly more Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners. Hey, I’m just projecting here. I don’t have the data to support this.

If the way healthcare gets delivered changes, then it makes sense that the way we promote products would change too. It stands to reason that we may need more DTC, in part, because the consumer may be less “gatekept” and partly due to the fact that we will need to educate them better. So there may indeed be more opportunity to promote to consumers. This, of course, will only flourish if we can see proof that it works (again, see prior blog entry). I would advocate for a “promocational” message that not only delivered features and benefits, but also helped the consumer gain a much better awareness of the disease risk factors, signs and symptoms. This would take more time than a traditional 60-second or even worse, 30-second spot. But the Web allows us to do just about anything. If only I could say the same for our regulators. Lets call it Accurate, Honest and Thorough consumer promotion. So can “AHT” be the new DTC? Remember you heard it here first. I think.