Pharmaceutical marketing, sometimes called medico-marketing or pharma marketing in
some countries are the business of advertising or otherwise promoting the sale of
pharmaceuticals or drugs. Also pharmaceutical marketing can be distinct as a procedure by which market for pharma care is recognized. It covers all the activities carried out by various individuals or management to actualize markets. Promotion are important tool within marketing department in any organization to present product or service to the consumer. Advertising and promotion are the procedure of building brand name. The main aim of advertising and promotion is to attract customer & physicians and pursue them to buy your product. For every organization its essential to have a clear marketing strategy specially in advertising and promotion to make a flow with the fluctuation of market and competitors. There are a lot of differences in markets for pharmaceuticals and other firms. They are highly controlled and involve a large degree of information and a difficult set of players like patients, pharmaceutical firms, doctors, the government and pharmacists are the most important players. Successful improvement of prescription drugs requires specific marketing support. However, there are some concerns about the effects of marketing expenses on the demand of pharmaceutical products. For example, extreme marketing could raise demand for products in the absence of a fundamental need. It also has been suggested that increased marketing expenditures may reduce the price elasticity of demand and let firms to control higher prices (Windmeijer et al., Health Econ 15(1):5-18, 2005).
Promotional activities have direct effects on both physicians and customers respond, which largely take the form of specifying and direct-to-consumer advertising. In the media and in medical sources the desirability of specific pharmaceutical marketing activities is a highly debated topic. According to De Laat, pharmaceutical organizations spend nearly 20% of their budget for pharmaceutical marketing (De Laat, 2002). Most of these marketing events are focused on physicians that include doctor visits, detailing, direct-mail, post-marketing research and conferences. Groups of pharmaceutical promotions claim that marketing expenses give innovative pharmaceutical builders a reasonable chance to improve high research and development expenditures and, moreover, marketing may help as a network to instruct physicians and expose customers to information that may improve their health outcomes and medical options (Kremer, Bijmolt, Leeflang, & Wieringa, 2008, p.236).
Brand awareness can also be developed by promotion and advertising (Yoo, Donthu, & Lee, 2000). Whether the pharmaceutical promotional expenditures are effective and achieve its targets depends on a wide range of variables and appears to be mixed (Singh & Smith, 2005). Most of pharmaceuticals marketing for physicians are done by sales representatives who give and explain information on generic and current methods of treatment, the suitable drug usage, indications, contraindications, and side effects of drugs. In addition to information about drug usage and placing, sales representatives give selling price information and dispense free samples. higher patient recovery rates that speak well of the physician’s competence and expertise will be a benefit for physicians while spending time with the sales representatives because of the information they receive. Several studies on promotion have suggested that when used as a persuasive tool, advertising affects the customer by focusing on the differentiating features and characteristics of the product and thus decreases price sensitivity. In contrast, advertising that provides information about the availability of competitive products broadens the reflection set and thus increase price sensitivity (Mirta and Lynch 1995; Nelson1970, 1974; Nerlove and Arrow 1962).
A mutual belief in the theoretical literature is that physicians are not price sensitive when thwy decide to select which drugs to prescribe for their patients, because they act as the patients’ client and the cost savings important to the patient, not to the prescriber (Leffler 1981). The list of experimental studies on physicians’ price sensitivity for prescription drugs is relatively short, and the proofs is questionable. However, Newhouse suggests that this unconvincing finding could be the result of the averaging method used over the duration of the experiment. Hellerstein (1997) examines physicians’ favorites for brand-name versus generic drugs.
Furthermore, considering the importance of prescribing the right drug that would lead to effective treatment with few side effects or problems given a patient’s complaint, in some cases physicians decide to choose the quality of the brand rather than considering the price if they have the guaranty that the drug has a direct effect on the patient. Previous research in marketing has shown that the quality of the product maybe an indication to the of the price and the promotion of the product (Milgrom and Roberts 1982, 1986; Nelson 1974). If this is the case and physicians are regarded as customers in a situation of imperfect information (in which the uncertainty comes from the unknown efficacy of the detailed drug for a patient’s treatment), then it can be expected that physicians might consider the higher price as a trustworthy signal of quality. Prescription products are similar to belief goods whose immediate effects are obvious neither to the user (the patient) nor to the decision maker (the physician). These effects often must be taken on faith, especially for chronic drugs. If the physician believes that a drug works in a particular patient’s case, there is no reason to deviate from it in subsequent prescriptions because of the risks related with converting treatment. Therefore, in these situations price would become less of a worry.
As a result of this paper, physician’s choice of brand is affected by marketing, public relation, especially the relationship with the doctor was the most effective strategy while commercials in journals and direct mailers were the least effective strategies. Personal selling by sales representatives and giving letter pads and even samples were rated less effective strategies. In conclusion, prescription behavior of physicians is affected by pharmaceutical marketing and advertisings. The more expensive strategies and innovative ways involved in public relations are more effective. As industry uses more expensive methods, the cost of prescription drugs is bound to increase. This feature should be observed by decision makers who are trying to bring down the cost of health care.