Miguel Ángel de Blas, Medical Advisor at AstraZeneca delivered a presentation to a crowd of 90 MIM students explaining how the Pharmaceutical Industry develops, markets, and delivers medicines to hospitals and pharmacies around the world. He also provided an in-depth analysis of the current state of industry in Spain and the rest of Europe.
Apart from being one of the most highly regulated industries, the Pharmaceutical Industry, unlike most industries, does not have consumers who choose their own products, nor, in Spain and in much of Europe, consumers who actually pay for the products they consume. This leads to what Mr. de Blas referred to as the “Medicinal Triangle,” where medicines are prescribed to patients by doctors but are paid for by governments, which are in turn funded by taxpayer money.
So when the Product can’t be changed, Placement is limited to either in a hospital or a pharmacy, the Price negotiated by governments and insurance companies, and when Direct to Consumer Marketing is off-limits, how do companies market their products? They market to healthcare professionals with a variety of tools including detailing, which includes the distribution of brochures and other sales aids to doctors, meetings and conferences and the distribution of free samples.
As for the outlook for pharmaceutical companies in Spain? With some autonomous communities lagging behind over 800 days in their payments to pharmaceutical companies, the forecast is far from cheery. Companies will need to innovate, recalibrate their strategies and adapt to reforms made by bankrupted governments in order to stay in the game, Mr. de Blas asserted.