Don’t Forget the Pharmacy!

Dear House Rules,

Our pharmaceutical company produces clinical content directed at doctors and educational materials written just for patients, but we have a minimal presence in the pharmacy. I can’t help feeling that we’re missing an opportunity. What do you suggest?


Does the pharmacy matter?

Dear Matter:

In a word: absolutely!

More and more, pharmacies have become a resource for educational materials ranging from printed items such as brochures to videos and apps. These things are available at the doctor’s office as well, of course, but it’s a simple fact that doctors are often too rushed to take the time necessary to educate a patient about a condition that could be complicated or even frightening.

Says Indianapolis-based pharmacist Diana Blazek, “I love to get out from behind the counter to help my regular customers. Eighty percent are repeat customers. They come back because they trust us.” Like her, most pharmacists are eager to:

• Help educate patients on their condition—Especially when they’re first diagnosed with a new medical condition, many patients are overwhelmed and even in shock at the doctor’s office. By the time the patient has gotten to the pharmacy, he or she has likely gone from “I have what?” to “There are so many questions I forgot to ask the doctor!” The pharmacist can help answer those questions—using materials provided by pharma companies.

• Support the treatment prescribed by doctors—Pharmacists know every medication a patient is on, and knows what it’s for. They are in the perfect position to reinforce the doctor’s recommendations and explain the treatments to patients.

• Encourage behavioral changes that can manage co-morbidities—Who better than the pharmacist to offer that little nudge that some patients may need to make healthier lifestyle choices? The pharmacy is a less intimidating environment for many patients than the doctor’s office, and pharma companies should capitalize on that!

• Promote patient compliance—If a patient has to take a medication such as a statin for a chronic condition that presents with no symptoms, it’s easy to “forget” to take it. After all, the patient may think, if I don’t feel sick, why take a pill? The pharmacist can help explain, in easy-to-understand language, how non-compliance can hurt in the long term, and what the consequences can be if they don’t take their medications as prescribed.

A trip to the pharmacy can be a golden opportunity to reach patients. Pharmacists are much more than pill counters, and they appreciate the opportunity to put their extensive education to use in counseling customers. In doing so, they can support pharma companies’ marketing strategies and help create the knowledgeable patients pharma companies prize. Patients who feel more empowered are patients who are more likely to take ownership of their own health management.

In order to maximize the opportunities to reach patients at the pharmacy, be sure you’re partnering with an agency with expertise in communicating to pharmacies as well as clinicians. That way, you can use this valuable and underserved audience to help promote your brand.


House Rules

About Xavier Creative House

Founded in 2013, Xavier Creative House (XCH) is an award-winning healthcare creative agency specializing in pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device. XCH’s global team of brand builders and healthcare marketers, tech-savvy go-getters, and innovative dream-vetters are passionate about the big idea that changes behavior in the healthcare marketplace. They believe life is about connections and that healthcare is about life. That is why XCH delivers bold and evocative creative solutions, amplified by meaningful technology, to energize brands and authentically connect with patients and HCPs.

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