As pharmaceutical companies increasingly turn their attention to emerging markets, they must find ways of addressing fundamental issues, such as affordability and patient access to medicines, if they are to reap the volume gains in these territories.
Part of that picture is drug concordance, an issue whose importance to a cost-conscious healthcare sector is amplified in markets where a substantially larger number of patients may be paying for drugs out of their own pockets.
The challenge is to make these drugs affordable to the patient in the first place, and then make sure the benefits – not to mention the ensuing revenue streams – are not squandered or disrupted by poor adherence to therapy.
With many drug concordance or adherence strategies, new technology is providing the platform for a more interactive relationship with patients that can help to keep long-term therapy on track.
Pfizer’s eCard, now in use across a number of emerging markets, functions along similar lines to a retail loyalty card. The customer gets discounts as a reward for, or inducement to, loyalty to a particular supplier.