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Pricing: At What Cost In your March 2002 article “The Cost of Doing Business,” I criticized as incorrect the conclusion that high R&D costs cause high pharma prices. A more economically sensible conclusion is that high pharma prices cause companies to undertake higher cost, more diffi cult, and risky research. Regrettably, I attribut ed the incorrect conclusion to the authors of the Tufts Study of Drug Development Costs with out having first checked the study personally. In fact, the authors draw no conclusions about the effect of R&D costs on pharma pricing. My crit icism is appropriately directed to those, cited your article, who claim that R&D expense “is integral in setting industry pricing.” Thomas T. Nagle, Ph.D. CHAIRMAN STRATEGIC PRICING GROUP INC. Pushing the Creative Envelope I very much enjoyed reading the March issue. What a great job! It was thoughtpro voking punchy, and spoke the unspoken! Thanks for the opportunity to share my VOICE! Michael Matin DIRECTOR OF MARKETING SCHERINGPLOUGH CORP. WOW … there may be some life in health care advertising after all! It was a pleasure to see so many common and supportive positions on creativity in our industry. But I wonder how much of it was talk for talk sake? Enough idle banter. Is anyone out there really looking to shake things up a bit? Make the competition cry foul! I hope so … John J. Nosta MANAGING PARTNER MDC Moving Beyond the Click We could not agree with Fred Foard more. His article, “Moving Beyond the Click, When Going to the Net” is timely and accurate. As many product managers try to discover the best way to leverage the power of the Internet they want to make sure that their message is reach ing their target physicians. If a pharmaceutical marketing professional wants immediate and measurable results on the prescribing habits of a specific group of physicians, then he/she needs to focus on “proven Internet successes” such as edetailing. An emarketing company with experience in edetailing should be able to produce results with confidence. Edetailing is a proven method of delivering product information to targeted and verified physicians. Additionally, the physicians’ response and activities are measured and reported in real time with retention measurement tools. Our Virtual Detail programs do exactly that and we have the numbers to prove it. In a recent edetailing program for Merz Pharmaceuticals, NRx for a group of physicians who participated in a virtual detail increased by 51% as compared with the control group. We at Lathian Systems agree with “one man’s opinion.” Alan Heim VP CLIENT SERVICES LATHIAN SYSTEMS INC. Superb article! The first article I’ve seen that gets to the real heart of this problem. — John Van Drie VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS In today’s economy it is increasingly difficult to find qualified employees, let alone come up with innovative ways of retaining and motivating them. What keeps you motivated? Are you smiling because you love your workplace or because you just sabotaged the coffee machine? According to Best Practices LLC, to meet the challenge of employee motivation, some companies are turning away from the traditional seniority driven model of compensation toward more flexible compensation tools to energize employees and focus them on corporate performance. Granted money is the ultimate motivator, but complimentary admis sion to workout facilities or free monthly movie tickets or even free lunch on Fridays are “personal” incentives that might just be the “perk” that keeps employee turnover to a minimum. PharmaVOICE wants to know: How is your company keeping you motivated, incentivized, and smiling on a regular basis? WHAT’SYOUR OPINION? Please email your comments to email@example.com. What’s Your Opinion? 6 A p r i l 2 0 02 PharmaVOICE LETTERS Raising the Cost of Doing Business