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This White Paper from ‘The Enablers’ is to help the pharma industry restore its past glory and the dignity of the profession of pharmaceutical selling. This in turn can attract talent. The challenge is immense as the country has around 24000 pharma companies of which only about 330 are in the organized sector.
While every pharma company is entitled to promote its products and build brands, pharma companies should not divert the marketing budgets for brand building to other forms of sales promotional activities which can raise some eyebrows. The current pharma marketing practices in India replicate the practices adopted by the western world, from where modern medicine has evolved. This does not exclude some of the unhealthy marketing practices in vogue in the western countries as is evidenced by R. Moynihan in the British Medical Journal 326: 1189-1192 (2003) and A. Wazana in JAMA 283: 373-80 (2000). This calls for a 180 degrees change. Some of the issues which need to be addressed immediately are 'transactional marketing'; ‘disease mongering’; misleading product promotion; and irrational drug combinations.
Pharma marketing strategies have not changed substantially in the last fifty years. Pharma marketers keep on doing what they have been doing for half a century. Time is apt for a change or else become extinct. Pharma marketers need to look at newer and modern strategies and apply the principles of evidence-based and patient-centric marketing. The critical objective should be to eliminate the practice of insanity in pharma marketing.
Pharma India should be conscious of its special position in the healthcare services in India, and should conduct its marketing and sales activities in a truthful, honest and trustworthy manner.
This can be done by adopting Good Marketing Practices as discussed in the White Paper.