We’re an Rx&D member. As such, we submit all materials to PAAB for approval. Are your programs PAAB-approved?
No, PAAB approves materials provided to physicians, materials distributed by a physician to a patient or consumer and compliance or adherence programs that are brand specific.
Our programs are sent directly to consumers. Direct-to-consumer information (DTCI) programs must follow Health Canada (HC) Guidelines. Both ASC and PAAB can only provide an ‘advisory opinion’ on whether the HC Guidelines have been followed.
DTC Direct does follow these Guidelines! Submission to ASC or PAAB for an ‘advisory opinion’ is voluntary and we recommend that one is sought.
You can advertise to consumers, but strictly price, quantity and name (see section ‘DTC Regulations’). There are applications for this approach, Viagra® being a well-known example. This is not our specialty.
Our programs educate, inform and discuss the various treatments available in a comprehensible and balanced fashion. We begin with a database of self-diagnosed consumers in specific therapeutic areas who seek further information. We create DTCI programs that build trust, encourage dialogue and discuss product differentiators which resonate with physicians.
The original database was built and is updated by our strategic partner, as this is their core competency. We survey 7,000,000 unique households in Canada each year by traditional mail, email and web-based surveys. Beyond collecting name, address, gender and age, we ask questions in key areas of interest.
Specific to the healthcare section of the survey, we decide which therapeutic areas to include and how best to ask each question. Brand usage questions are often asked for clients’ specific needs both for message deployment and market research. We have worked together for close to 20 years fine-tuning the least invasive methods to ask sensitive questions without jeopardizing response rates.
PIPEDA is an acronym for the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. It is a broad scale Federal privacy law that regulates the collection, use and disclosure of personal, identifiable information used in the private sector.
All three can be effective when properly executed. While our principal database is built for traditional mail, many consumers have also provided their email address as an optional channel of communication. Traditional mail and email work well together as a means to both educate and drive consumers and patients to a specific web site.
Social media is a growing avenue for disseminating information to a broader audience. This is not our core competency. Our specialty is reaching information-seeking consumers with a specific ailment or disease.
Yes, we recently added this question in response to increased demand from several customers.
There are no two identical situations. We have many clients who commenced dialogue two years pre-NOC and others who waited until their brand had been on the market for several years. That said, commencing dialogue pre-NOC provides an opportunity for increased customer learning and assists in market research.
For the most part, very positively. There will always be physicians who believe it is their exclusive role to educate patients. However, the Internet has changed this dramatically and its success is fast becoming its demise. There is now so much information available on the net that patients are overwhelmed and no longer know what is credible.
Our educational programs are written especially for patients and some components of the program are available in physicians’ waiting rooms. Patients who are educated about their conditions are better prepared for their physician visit and are better able to provide the physician with a detailed history and to ask relevant questions. This is our approach and it benefits both the patient and physician.
Both. Our information is gathered from the consumer and therefore is self-diagnosed. This means that the person would have to know they have a certain disease or condition. In certain cases, our clients need to know the severity of the disease as well as current and past brand therapy. If a consumer chooses to share brand information with us, we then consider them a ‘patient’.
I’ve never heard of DTC Direct. How many years have you been implementing DTCI programs for pharmaceutical companies?
We began over 20 years ago as a consumer direct-marketing agency. For the last 15 years we have concentrated on healthcare. Today, we are focused 100% on designing and implementing consumer and patient educational programs on behalf of Rx&D members. We’ve created DTC Direct to reflect this complete dedication to pharmaceutical DTCI programs.
Most of our educational programs involve dialogue versus newsletters (which are a one-way means of communication). We have been tracking responses since day one and this measurement component has allowed us to test multiple approaches. We simply repeat successes and avoid components or styles that have generated a low response.
Yes, but with clearly defined roles. Healthcare agencies know how to resonate with medical professionals and create your brand design and positioning. We know consumers and patients and how to speak to them. You and your agency understand the overall brand strategy and DTCI is a component of this overall strategy.
Yes, as a sponsor. We have an educational platform called EduCare™ and most of our clients choose to use this well-known and respected name.