Friday, June 03, 2005

Using patient-level data to measure the effectiveness of pharmaceutical online consumer marketing (eMarketing)

Using patient-level data to measure the effectiveness of pharmaceutical online consumer marketing (eMarketing)


By Jim Mansfield, Product Line Director, Consumer Programs, Verispan


Objectives Every pharmaceutical brand employs online marketing (eMarketing) to advance the message of the brand to consumers. The objective of this study is to use patient-level data to determine the effectiveness of eMarketing in influencing consumers to fill and refill prescriptions.

Research Design and Methods We obtained from ComScore, an Internet market research company, a panel of consumer households that have accessed and We used Verispan’s patient-centric longitudinal database to match prescription retail and mail-order claims to develop cohorts of patients. Only consumers who were data-eligible were used in this study to control for eligibility and decrease any patient leakage.

Eligible patients totaled 4,200 and were classified as new to therapy, new to brand, or continued based on their claim history for the prior 12 months. A one-to-one matched- pair control group was developed by matching consumers on age (10-year buckets), gender, study brand prescriptions (claim counts), market prescriptions (claim counts), and plan (by last prescription). Conversion to therapy was compared to the control group. Conversion was defined as any consumer who had a prescription claim after accessing or Cumulative conversion rates and the time to convert were calculated for all cohorts.


• Consumers who accessed the Web sites were classified as New to Nexium (new to brand), New to Nexium (new to therapy), and Continuing on Nexium cohorts. The percentage of consumers was found to be 26%, 64% and 10% respectively.

• The cumulative conversion rate for the New to Nexium (new to brand) cohort was 5% vs. 3% for the control group. This was statistically significant.

• The average time to convert for the New to Nexium (new to brand) cohort was 66 days vs. 74 days for the control group, which was approximately 11% faster.

Conclusions The findings document and prove pharmaceutical eMarketing increases patient conversion. This suggests an opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to expand online marketing during mass media campaigns. Results from these analyses can easily drive ROI models to determine a positive NPV for expansion or reallocation.

Jim Mansfield is Product Line Director, Consumer Programs at Verispan. He can be reached at


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BIG NEWS: Congress Proposes DTC Changes

Congress Proposes DTC Changes


Under new drug safety legislation proposed by Senators Grassley (R-Iowa), and Dodd (D-Connecticut) DTC would have some new requirements. A significant change would be pre-clearance of promotional material. Of course, that is not a change for most drug companies that pre-clear ads now.


The issue with formal pre-clearance is that DDMAC may take longer and be more conservative in approving ads. Currently, DDMAC can say it is a non-binding opinion and change their mind later. Under a system of formal pre-clearance they no longer have this luxury. The other issue is staffing to ensure all ads get pre-cleared on a timely basis so drug companies can commit to media buys.


The Grassley-Dodd bill also requires new drugs in the first two years to disclose several key facts. Ads and other promo material must prominently disclose in understandable language the following: the drug is new and therefore all side effects are not known, the number of people studied in clinical trials, a statement encouraging consumers to discuss risks with their doctor, any clinical studies still to be done and their purpose, and contact information to report adverse events.


The above requirement could be a handful to report in a television ad. I would expect at least another 10-15 seconds would be needed to incorporate the above information. If this bill passes, then branded television may be a challenge for new drugs. This may make print/web/direct mail the media of choice. Television could be used for non-branded help seeking ads for the condition. For first-in-class drugs, where unknowns exist, I would expect branded television to be problematic. For me-too drugs, branded television is still doable because it is unlikely new clinicals are being done to establish safety.


What is certain is that drug companies need to be very flexible about how they plan their DTC. They need to be ready to use alternatives to branded television if this bill or other FDA guidances make branded television difficult. Every drug company is probably working their DTC departments overtime on scenario planning for different levels of restrictions. Media companies better be very savvy about these potential changes when they pitch potential clients because each provision has media implications.

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Merck has launched an online, TV, and print ad campaign estimated at more than $20 million that aims to improve its corporate reputation, reports The New York Times. Using the slogan "Merck. Where patients come first," the campaign's online efforts include a graphic on Merck's homepage that invites users to learn more about the company's products, assistance programs, and health resources.

Clicking on the graphic brings users to, which includes links to Rx assistance and discount programs, MerckSource for ad-free health information, and clinical trials information. Web site visitors can also see the print ads and watch the campaign's TV commercials, which emphasize the theme of patients first by highlighting assistance programs and drug discovery. Users can also view the print campaigns. The online campaign will also appear on sites such as WebMD. The TV ads will run on broadcast and cable networks and the print campaign will appear in national newspapers and 40 magazines, according to The Times.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005


As pharmas such as Pfizer and Procter & Gamble begin to experiment with mobile messaging, the Mobile Marketing Association and the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association have released guidelines for mobile marketers, the groups report. The principles were written by five major wireless carriers and cover rules for advertising and promotion, opt-in and –out choices, and subscription services, and include a glossary of standard terms and abbreviations. For example, the guidelines list the exact words that consumers may use to opt-in (yes, go, okay, yep, yeah) and opt-out (stop, quit, end, cancel, unsubscribe), according to Advertising Age. They also require that consumers opt-in twice to ensure that they want to accept the offer, says Ad Age. Some marketers who use mobile messaging to reach consumers have reported a 90% response rate and 30% conversion rate.

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Go-ahead for HIV computer game

Published: Wednesday, 1-Jun-2005

A ground breaking computer game developed by a University of Salford lecturer to help educate young South Africans about the dangers of HIV and AIDS will be piloted in July.

Nursing lecturer Barbara Hastings-Asatourian has worked with software company Sherston-Sheshani to develop the game, Play-it-Safe, which aims to engage young people in discussion about HIV and AIDS by approaching the subject in an accessible and unconventional way.

Following recent successful meetings with Peter Fenton from South Africa's Western Cape Education Department, the game is to be piloted in schools in the province of South Africa, before being rolled out across the rest of the country.

Barbara began working with Sherston-Sheshani, who specialise in producing educational computer software in South Africa, after they were impressed by her contraception education tool, Contraception: the Computer Game, and thought the idea could be developed for HIV and AIDS education.

Barbara is enthusistic about the response she's had to the game in South Africa. She said: "I'm very excited about this project.

"The pilot will give us the chance to identify any changes that need to be made before the game is rolled out to the rest of the country. Ultimately, if it's successful there, we would like to see it used all over Africa and in other parts of the world."

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AZ, Sanofi-Aventis, Novo Nordisk fund online diabetes tool

The American Diabetes Association has launched a free, interactive diabetes risk assessment and management tool on its Web site, the organization reports. The tool, Diabetes Personal Health Decisions (PHD), allows users to enter health information such as age, weight, medication, and family history, to determine a health risk profile. After receiving the results, users can adjust lifestyle factors, such as taking low doses of aspirin or losing weight, to see how making these changes affect their health and risk factors, according to the Web site. Users can also print or e-mail their results to share with their doctors. Diabetes PHD uses Archimedes software, which was developed by Kaiser Permanente with support from Bristol-Myers Squibb, to calculate health variables, resulting in what the American Diabetes Association says is the most accurate health risk-profiling tool ever developed. The tool is funded through the American Diabetes Association's Doing Better: Tools for Diabetes Care initiative, which is funded by companies such as AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi-Aventis.



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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Barbers Spread WOM to Snip Prostate Cancer

When deciding the best way to reach men who were most at  risk for prostate cancer, advocacy group Prostate Net

enlisted the help of someone who knows them best -- their  barber. Prostate Net enlisted barbers in more than 800

barbershops to hand out brochures, direct men to free prostate screenings, and dispense good health advice. The

program successfully leveraged the barber's role in a typical man's life as a trusted source of good counsel and



THE LESSON: A good idea spreads faster when it comes from

someone you trust.


THE SECOND LESSON: If you're a man and are at least 40, get

your prostate checked.


More info:


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