Written by Richard Marcil on January 22, 2016
in Digital Marketing, Healthcare Marketing

2015 was a good year for pharma innovation as the FDA approved 45 new drugs – the best, in fact, since the industry’s all-time record in 1996. And many of these new drugs address significant unmet needs.  Maybe we’re seeing a new dawn of innovation in pharma.

But according to Harvard Business Review’s recent report titled The Most Digital Companies Are Leaving All the Rest Behind, there is much more disruption to come. Innovation and change are only accelerating, and are not limited to new drugs. Think non-traditional products, services, business models, etc.

As the piece calls out, the growing digital divide in health should be concerning to health marketers:

  • This is not about “haves” and “have nots”; it’s about “haves” and “have mores”
  • Pharma and healthcare remain laggards, not keeping pace with HCP and PatientConsumer needs
  • The issue is not IT investment & capabilities; it’s digital usage internally and digital engagement externally
  • Not all “have mores” are Silicon Valley unicorns; established companies like GE, Nike and L’Oréal have figured it out

Here are a few examples of disruptors and “have more” companies in health:

  • Proteus Health, who helps HCP’s and patients better manage their chronic conditions through proprietary platforms
  • Google’s Verily, who are partnering aggressively and working on everything from hardware miniaturization to software products & platforms
  • Even CVS and Walmart, who are increasing access & accelerating the shift of primary care to retail

What’s the so-what?  Most of us don’t have breakthrough products to market year over year.  Go-to-market strategies and tactics are therefore the best opportunity for innovation.  Looking at 2016 plans that were baked 3-6 months ago, are we really meeting the changing needs of HCP’s and PatientConsumers? Looking at the competitive dynamics of our category or therapeutic area, are we really breaking from the pack?

From our vantage point at Ariad Health, a number of clients and brands are testing the waters, which is terrific.  The challenge for all of us, though, is testing and scaling faster and more aggressively in order to catch up to HCP’s and PatientConsumers who are increasingly turning to non-traditional and indirect competitors, brands and products.

Richard Marcil is the General Manager of Ariad Health

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