The landscape of the pharmaceutical industry is ever-changing and highly competitive, which makes marketing an essential component in every company. In an industry that has such impact on our lives and health, it is crucial that pharmaceutical marketing ethics are put in place when launching new products and creating a business plan as a whole.
According to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society*, in the wider pharmaceutical industry, more money is spent on marketing than on research and development. Whilst this may be an eye-opening statistic, it doesn’t necessarily mean money is going to the wrong place – if the money is being used to ensure the highest standards of ethics in pharmaceutical marketing.
Governments across the globe have introduced regulations in the last ten years to ensure that patients sanctions are chosen over profits, and pharmaceutical companies who do not operate by these ethical regulations are at risk of punishment. It is best practice to adhere to a set of general principles to ensure that pharmaceutical marketing is always ethical. If you need assistance in making your pharmaceutical marketing efforts more ethical, we offer advice as part of our pharmaceutical consulting services.
1. Train Employees on Laws and Regulations
Your organisation should already have an understanding of the laws and regulations within the pharmaceutical industry, and your employees should know them inside out too. Regulations, such as the EFPIA, will ensure that the company’s key employees are already trained on the appropriate laws and codes of practices. It must become standard practice to educate and train all of your marketing employees on these regulations and host refresher sessions regularly.
2. Gain Consent Before Undertaking Direct Marketing
The current GDPR laws mean that companies need authorisation before directly marketing to individuals to comply with pharmaceutical marketing ethics. Organisations need to ensure that they respect the privacy and preferences of the patients or consumers that receive the marketing communications, and operate in an ethical and culturally sensitive manner. Seek the authorisation of the audience you want to reach or at least approach consumers or potential patients in a non-intrusive way.
3. Ensure Full Transparency
Pharmaceutical companies are expected to go the extra mile to ensure full transparency with their products and services. For example, the results of a clinical trial and the full range of potential side effects as a result of the tested drug should be available for health professionals and patients to access. It is also considered unethical to disguise your marketing messages for something else. Always ensure clarity and visibility in every aspect of your pharmaceutical marketing.
4. Keep Your Data Up To Date
Pharmaceutical organisations, particularly those on a larger scale, are likely to have sales and marketing databases that may need updating. While this is often considered a laborious task, data management is critical to pharmaceutical marketing ethics. Bad data management will result in ineffective marketing and potentially negative results, so ensuring that your CRM is kept up to date with the correct names, email addresses and home addresses.
5. Act Sensibly and Responsibly
Pharmaceutical marketing ethics are truly highlighted through an organisation’s acts of integrity, fairness and responsibly. By acting in a way that is sensible and demonstrates a sense of trustworthiness to the markets and communities, the business markets itself, as well as its products. Honesty is the best policy where consumers are aware of manipulative sales tactics and marketing ploys, so show your business in the best light. Build trust with healthcare professionals and patients, and notice a loyal audience start to grow.
If you would like more information about pharmaceutical marketing ethics or how to integrate them into your business plan, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can also book a consultation session to find out even more about marketing your new pharmaceutical product with ethics in consideration, as well as distribution and patent expiry.