The future of innovation in pharma
Rebecca Aris interviews Carly Kuper
Rebecca Aris spoke with Carly Kuper of CMI/Compas to hear her thoughts on how well pharma is currently driving innovation.
How well is pharma currently driving innovation and how is it currently utilising digital tools? We ask these questions of Carly Kuper of CMI/Compas.
With over a decade of corporate communications and agency experience, Carly currently leads strategic marketing and corporate communications for CMI/Compas.
RA: How well is pharma currently driving innovation?
CK: The criticism that pharma gets is that we’re not embracing new tools for innovation, but that’s not accurate. There are many companies that have shown that they are using new media for the betterment of the patient and for improved interaction with HCPs, using new media in incredibly creative ways. A few examples are Abbott using Facebook to connect with nurses, Sanofi using multiple social media tactics, and AstraZeneca being one of the first to use Twitter. And it’s not just social media – I’ve seen our clients open to partnerships with all new media offerings that provide value to healthcare professionals and patients. We used to have no case studies in social media but I think we’ve caught up pretty quickly and are using it in more meaningful ways than any other industry.
“The criticism that pharma gets is that we’re not embracing new tools for innovation, but that’s really not accurate.”
RA: What challenges are there to implementing innovation?
CK: I think that the biggest obstacle right now for innovation in pharma might be ourselves. We say that FDA hasn’t put out regulations that we can follow, but I think we know what we can and can’t be, because we really look at what the patient needs from a privacy perspective or from a sensitivity perspective, and we know how to act. Many companies are getting past that and taking risks in their own ways, and seeing a lot of success. If we can all do that, if we can all get past our insecurities, break down those silos, get the right stakeholders in line with what we want to do, we will have very few limits in terms of innovation.
RA: What can help pharma to drive innovation?
CK: One audience that is overlooked a lot is the non-physician prescribers such as Nurse Practioners and Physician’s Assistants (NPs/PAs). NPs/PAs can prescribe almost across the board in the US, yet as an industry we’re really not reaching out to them in ways that we could. They want to be marketed to, they want to receive information, they want to interact with pharma, and it’s just an amazing opportunity that we have. We have the tools that you would need to reach out to that group. So it’s not even as though the group is hidden, there’s many companies like ours that can make that connection.
RA: What do you think of how pharma currently utilises digital tools?
CK: We’re enteringan age of pharma 3.0 where it’s all about patient value. Looking at the patient as the number one, looking at better health outcomes and having the patient be central could very well completely change the way that people think about pharma.
“…the average consumer is assuming that they are going to be having that two way conversation with every single brand they consume, whether it’s a pharmaceutical product or whether it’s their smartphone or their TV.”
I don’t think that the average patient understands that the reason the pharma company that makes their treatments isn’t interacting with them on Facebook is because we have all these regulations. I think the average consumer is assuming that they are going to be having that two way conversation with every single brand they consume, whether it’s a pharmaceutical product or whether it’s their smartphone or their TV.
So I think that it’s amazing that so many pharmaceutical companies have been dipping their toes into trying to have YouTube channels and Twitter feeds and every new technology that comes out, because what it means is we are trying to get out there where the patient is, we are trying to interact with the patient.
It’s representative of a huge shift in attitudes among pharma. I truly believe that will result in great PR for pharma as a whole, because we are starting to get out there and relate in a really positive way. The good thing about being a little late to the game in getting into new media is that we were able to look at some case studies of how it may have gone wrong, and we know now that you listen first before you interact. We have a lot of lessons to learn from other industries , and so I think that the way that we’ve been going has only been positive, and I hope that all pharma companies will follow suit.
RA: How do you see delivery of innovation changing for pharma in the future?
CK: I predict that in the next few years, and this is not my prediction alone, that data will enable us to do things that were previously absolutely unimaginable. It was only a few years ago that companies like YouTube and Facebook launched, and they have changed the scope for us, and I predict that in a very short time, five years or less, we’re going to figure out how to really harness that data and have it be part of absolutely everything that we do.
About the interviewee:
Carly leads strategic marketing and corporate communications for CMI/Compas: Communications Media, Inc., Compas, Inc. and its family of companies. In this role she helps introduce the company’s best assets to its client- and supplier-partners. Carly has more than a decade of corporate communications and agency experience, and previous to her appointment to CMI/Compas grew her communications and healthcare experience at Digitas Health, Razorfish Health and Weber Shandwick Worldwide. She was honored as a 2012 Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) Rising Star and is perhaps best known for her corny jokes in between sessions at pharmaceutical conferences.
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