Pharma comms chiefs adapt strategies for emerging markets

Pharma companies are reformulating their global comms approaches because of a huge predicted growth in emerging markets.

Pharma: emerging markets signal strategy change
Pharma: emerging markets signal strategy change


According to IMS Health, projections for pharma spending in markets such as India, China and Eastern Europe are set to double by 2016, leading pharma companies to ‘beef up their strategy’, according to sources.

A consultation with ten pharma companies including Janssen, Shire Pharmaceuticals and Caris Lifesciences by Just::Health has found drugs are now being launched in emerging markets before the traditional markets of US and Europe, where growth and ?innovation may be slower.

Just::Health director Julia Kirby said the pharma comms chiefs consulted were considering replacing ‘traditional geographic groupings [such as Europe or Latin America] with groupings based on strategic priorities, such as regulatory status or cultural attitudes towards particular therapy areas’.

Esra Erkal-Paler, AstraZeneca head of global media relations, admitted comms around emerging markets was a key issue as 'fundamental drivers of growth remain strong' in these markets.

She said: ‘We recognise that the "emerging markets" definition includes a diverse range of countries whose key unifying characteristic is a growing economy, and therefore one size does not fit all –we are conscious of the need to adapt our comms approach to best suit the local environment and business needs.’

As an example, she said there could be more of a focus on corporate reputation in emerging markets.

She said: ‘It depends on the local healthcare environment such as whether it was a customer pay market or whether its more of a healthcare system. In some emerging markets such as Mexico where patients are direct consumers because they are paying for their medicine, our corporate reputation is very important because customers are taking decisions about which drugs to buy based on that.’

AstraZeneca dedicated 47 per cent of its global sales and marketing workforce to emerging markets in 2011 as opposed to 16 per cent in 2002, despite planning to cut 7,300 jobs overall over the next three years.

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