Reflections on the pharmaceutical trends

The 12th annual Eye for Pharma Barcelona summit

Eye for Pharma’s Barcelona summit is one of the world’s largest meetings of commercial pharma executives and is generally recognised as the most influential conference in the pharmaceutical industry. The event -which attracts almost a thousand participants- covers a wide range of topics and can be seen as a mirror reflecting all that is ‘hot’ within the industry. This year’s edition of the event has seen a record-breaking number of participants and presentations from more than 100 senior level pharma speakers.

Trilations not only attended this year’s event with a group of five but also set up a fancy stand at the conference exhibition, hosted two large tables at the awards dinner and organised a workshop around building powered partnerships in a multi-stakeholder environment. It has been our most extensive coverage of a conference to date and without a doubt it has not gone unnoticed.

Now that Easter has passed, we wanted to take the opportunity to share our thoughts on the most important pharmaceutical trends currently taking place in the pharma industry as seen through the lens of the Eye for Pharma Barcelona summit…

Out of the keynote presentations -which focused on innovation and change in the industry- the presentations of Jane Griffiths (Janssen) and Richard Bergström (EFPIA) regarding trust and reputation of the pharmaceutical industry stood out. They both rightfully posed the following question: “why is an industry that does so many good things for society faced with such a questionable reputation?”. Both presenters were strong advocates for an industry that focusses on building a more positive public image. Jane mentioned that Janssen is also acting upon this ambition by assigning ‘trust & reputation’ as a strategic focus area for the oncoming years. Also we from Trilations strongly believe that reputation, which is one of our service pillars, is a fundamental asset which can have a profound impact on the growth of companies.

After the keynote presenters the event split up in three parallel tracks: value partnerships, sales excellence and multichannel marketing. In all three tracks one theme that received a great deal of attention was ‘Patient-centricity’. Lode Dewulf (UCB) kicked-off the discussion by defining patient- centricity and evaluating the relevance of patient focused commercial models. Several other presenters followed by contemplating how pharma companies can put the patient at the center of their commercial strategies. Many participants also valued the direct input from two patient advocacy group members who presented their insights into how pharma companies can create valuable partnerships with patient advocacy organisations. We had set a similar ambition for our workshop by including Virgil Simons, president of The Prostate Net, in our workshop.  Also for other key stakeholders such a payers, journalists, hospital management members,… we tried to create a “meet your stakeholder” kind of set-up by involving them in the workshop either through physical presence or on the screen.

Within the track ‘valued partnerships’ Michel Baes (Janssen) explained and described Janssen’s change management program towards customer loyalty. Michel illustrated his speech with some key insights, such as the fact that the company contributes for one third of market performance and the brand for two third. Michel is a great public speaker and it was nice to hear so many positive comments afterwards about the consistency, scope and level of sophistication of the whole program. Similar to the reputation pillar, Trilations also provides services to strengthen loyalty with your customers.

Within the track ‘multichannel marketing’ several pharmaceutical companies presented their latest multichannel programs and initiatives (e.g. MSD, Novartis, Sanofi, Merck, Roche,…). The overall sentiment was that due to changing market conditions and increased economic pressure the pharma industry needs to adapt its marketing communications mix. Pharma companies need to utilise different channels according to the impact that they have and need to maximise reach and influence by tailoring channels and information to the needs of relevant customer segments. Changing market conditions also require a re-allocation of budgets taking into consideration the increasing and decreasing importance of different stakeholder groups.

Given the amount of participants, the level of the presenters, the quality of the presentations and the buzz that we were able to create for Trilations we look back at a successful event. Therefore, we are keen to further develop our services, people and company by participating to next year’s edition of the Eye for Pharma Barcelona Summit.

This whitepaper is written by Dr. Joeri De Haes (PhD) – Trilations
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