KRC Partners with Trade Group PhRMA

Background

For many years, the U.S. pharmaceutical industry has been under tremendous pressure.  In the early 1990s, prescription drug prices became a particular target of criticism, fading slightly from view in the mid-90s, only to re-emerge as a driving political issue at the end of the decade.  The industry has come under fire for its marketing practices, and questions have been raised periodically about the safety of its products.  Throughout this period, from the early ‘90s and continuing today, KRC has worked closely with PhRMA to help understand the drivers of public opinion, develop messages, and manage issues.

Research

We have tracked consumer and opinion leader attitudes continuously since 1993, identifying changes in attitudes and emerging drivers of public opinion.  In the early 1990s, we identified the industry’s role in the research and development of new drugs as a key information gap, and PhRMA developed a reputation-building campaign to fill that gap.  Five years later, we identified the industry’s role in providing access to affordable medicines as a critical area for communications, leading to the development, launch, and maintenance of Partnership for Prescription Assistance, a major on-going initiative.  Next, we identified prevention and disease management as an important advocacy platform for the industry, leading to the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease.

We have conducted extensive research on specific public policy issues facing the industry to understand consumer and stakeholder opinions on these issues, the sources of those opinions, and the messages most likely to educate and persuade.  These issues have included, among others, the costs and pricing of prescription drugs; options for fundamental healthcare reform; incentives for innovation and intellectual property rights (where our research was global, including Europe and Asia); prescription drug safety; the marketing and advertising of prescription drugs; and the importation of medicines from other countries.

We have conducted a wide range of research specifically to develop and test advertising and other communications materials, aimed largely at policy influencers, but also at consumer opinion leaders and patients.  This has included testing of both television and print advertising, and has included in-market tests to measure the real-world impact of communications on opinions and priorities.

 

Results

We worked closely with PhRMA and its member companies to develop and launch the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, including research to help develop and define the concept, identify key messages, test communications materials among a variety of audiences (patients, employees, physicians, and others), measure satisfaction with the program, and track attitudes and awareness in the marketplace.

With the advent of the prescription drug benefit under Medicare, we have conducted regular research to understand beneficiaries’ experience with the benefit, their reasons for satisfaction and dissatisfaction, and their opinions on potential changes to the benefit.  Much of this research has been shared publicly.

Also shared publicly, we have conducted regular research with physicians, assessing their perceptions, preferences and usage of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs.


 

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