Thursday, January 28, 2010

3 ways behavioral economics might benefit bio-pharma branding

More and more health, science, and technology brands are examining how breakthroughs in behavioral economics can:
  1. affect consumer response,
  2. improve patient compliance, and
  3. enhance the overall brand experience.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Vitality Inc., a start-up in Cambridge, Mass., wants to apply behavioral economics to prompt people to take prescriptions. Vitality's GlowCaps use lights and sounds as reminders. The caps also contain a radio transmitter that sends email to doctors, relatives and others about how often the cap is opened.

Vitality President Josh Wachman hopes to market the GlowCaps to drug makers, pharmacies, insurers and patients, arguing they will improve compliance and save money by preventing more costly health problems.

Also, pharmacy-benefits manager Express Scripts Inc. tried to overcome behavioral issues to boost enrollment in home-delivery services. In November 2008, Express Scripts contacted 63,000 Lowe's Cos. employees and dependents with continuing prescriptions, asking them to accept or decline home delivery and offering to complete required paperwork and contact physicians. Use of home delivery has since risen to almost 40% of eligible workers, up from about 14% last year.

Bob Nease, chief scientist at Express Scripts, says the initiative sought to overcome enrollment barriers for users who recognized that they could save money on co-pays by ordering fewer, but larger, batches of drugs. "You see these things as being trivial transition costs, but psychologically they loom really large," Mr. Nease says.

One forum where these ideas were discussed was the “ignite” symposium – sponsored by Express Scripts, Center for Cost-Effective Consumerism, the American Benefits Council, and Hewitt Associates.

Ignite symposium speakers included --
  • Alan Garber, MD, PhD: Professor of Medicine; Director, Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research; Director, Center for Health Policy; Stanford University
  • Emma Hoo: Director, Value Based Purchasing; Pacific Business Group on Health
  • Bob Ihrie, MBA: Senior Vice President, Employee Rewards and Services; Lowe's
  • James A. Klein: President; American Benefits Council
  • David Laibson, PhD: Harvard College Professor and Robert I. Goldman Professor of Economics; Harvard University
  • Jeff Munn: Principal, Health Management Consulting Practice; Hewitt Associates
  • Bob Nease, PhD: Chief Scientist; Express Scripts
  • Larry Zarin: Senior Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Communications; Express Scripts

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

20 blogs marketers to China should be reading

I’ll be conducting a branding and sales workshop in just a few weeks for Asia-Pacific marketing managers. In preparation, I’ve been reading some favorite blogs listed recently by Advertising Age.

It is certainly a diverse list of blogs, every one of which I’m visiting to enjoying and learn from.
In addition, the article’s author Normandy Madden added these five “bonus blogs” for consideration:
  • Pacific Epoch
  • Managing the Dragon
  • Youku Buzz
  • Silicon Hutong
  • Zhongnanhai

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

4 years in the making, Berinert global brand is now launched in the U.S.

Berinert® has received FDA approval as the first and only therapy in the U.S. for the treatment of acute abdominal and facial attacks of Hereditary Angioedema (HAE) in adult and adolescent patients.

STINSON’S involvement with Berinert began in 2005, when CSL Behring engaged us to help increase awareness of HAE, a rare and serious genetic disorder, and the I.M.P.A.C.T. study.

We then moved into development of global brand hallmarks, including logo, logotype, symbol, visual imagery, and colors to support the defined positioning.

Now, in addition to completing the global brand design, STINSON Brand Innovation has executed the U.S. brand launch campaign including sales materials, patient literature, support programs, and journal advertising.

Bob Lefebvre, VP and general manager of U.S. commercial operations at CSL Behring, said in announcing the Berinert approval, “As a leader in developing safe, effective and high-quality therapies, we are pleased to add to our rapidly growing portfolio a proven treatment that can make a positive difference in the lives of HAE patients and their families.”

Anthony Castaldo, president of the U.S. HAEA, a nonprofit patient advocacy organization representing some 6,500 HAE patients, added that Berinert provides therapy for “treating debilitating, painful, and life-threatening facial and abdominal HAE attacks once they have begun.”

You can also read more about STINSON Brand Innovation and our international branding assignments in the “Global Issue” of our Accelerate newsletter.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

2013 will see China’s pharma market nearly triple - to become world’s third largest with sales of $60 billion

Massive reforms are changing the world’s fastest growing market. However, alongside rapid growth, China’s industry is facing major disruptions in the operating environment as the country implements a three-year $124 billion health reform that represents just the first wave of systemic changes scheduled to take place over the next decade.

Buyer characteristics, the product selection process, pricing, distribution channels, customer geographics and demographics – all of these will be profoundly different in the environment that is emerging under the new health reforms. Industry decision-makers cannot afford to ignore how these changes will affect the country.

“China: Health Reforms and the Future of the Pharmaceutical Market” is a just-released report from VOI Consulting. The report explains China’s pharmaceutical market and contains in-depth coverage of health reforms, the impact they will have on the operating environment, and strategies that will allow companies to capitalize on opportunities and minimize risks.

Details of China’s reforms are presented, plus a review of:
  • How the money will be spent and who will be affected
  • The selection process for the national formulary
  • Current and emerging buyer profiles and market segmentation strategies.
  • The fastest growing distribution channels 
  • The rising importance of the mid-sized cities and rural areas
  • How changes in the price control regime will affect margins and customer incentives
  • How other leading companies are adapting to the changes
VOI publishes the PharmaHandbook, a leading source for comprehensive information and analysis on global pharmaceutical markets.  It also covers these important markets:
  • Developed Markets
  • Asia Pacific:  Australia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand
  • Europe: Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, UK, Switzerland
  • Middle East: Israel
  • North America:  Canada, US
Emerging Markets
  • Asia Pacific: China, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand
  • Europe: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia
  • Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Venezuela
  • Middle East/Africa: Egypt, Turkey, South Africa
You also can read more about STINSON Brand Innovation and our branding assignments in China, India, and more - all in the “Global Issue” of our Accelerate newsletter.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

2 talented friends recognized with Brand Leadership Awards from the World Brand Congress

Hans J. Ahl is senior director of international sales and operations at Merck Biosciences in Darmstadt, Germany and San Diego, California. Hans was recognized for “building and maintaining relationships at global life science, pharma, and biotech corporations.” He drives sales operations, including customer service and support, to deliver the brand experience around the world.

Memet (Matt) Yazici is head of asset management for RHEA Investments in Istanbul, Turkey. He is a former account director at STINSON and also served on the board for our Istanbul partner agency, Rekmar Brand Innovation. Matt’s award was “in recognition of your professional efforts and unique approach to execute branding programs that maximize sales opportunities.”

The World Brand Congress was held in 2009 in Mumbai, India. The theme was “BRANDS – Re:Charge; Innovate; Re:Engage.” The congress was attended by some 200 delegates from 60 different countries, along with 300 participants from India, plus nearly 100 invited guests, speakers, dignitaries and award winners.

You can also read more about STINSON Brand Innovation and our international branding assignments in the “Global Issue” of our Accelerate newsletter.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

HE4 ovarian cancer biomarker benefits from global branding campaign by Fujirebio Diagnostics

STINSON is working with Fujirebio Diagnostics to show physicians around the world how to “Take The Right Path” with its novel HE4 biomarker for ovarian cancer.

Country market managers and distributors in Europe, Asia, and the U.S are executing the campaign.

Tactical applications of the core brand platform include sales brochures, journal ads, convention displays, touch-screen displays, direct mail, and e-marketing.

The goal of the campaign is to promote the HE4 test to gynecologic oncologists and OB/GYNs– and to encourage referrals of ovarian cancer patients for surgery performed by a gynecologic oncologist or a surgeon with specialized training in the management of ovarian cancer.

Leading researchers say that roughly 20 percent of women will be diagnosed with an ovarian cyst or tumor at some point in their lives, but only a small percentage of these women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The problem, experts say, is that current methods for distinguishing benign ovarian tumors from malignant ones are limited, and as a result women must undergo surgery without an accurate assessment as to their risk for having ovarian cancer prior to their surgery.

With better testing, patients with (or at risk for) ovarian cancer can receive the right care from the right physician.

Congratulations to Fujirebio Diagnostics for being named Life Sciences Company of the Year by the Eastern Technology Council.

You can also read more about STINSON Brand Innovation and our international branding assignments in the “Global Issue” of our Accelerate newsletter.

Monday, January 18, 2010

4 segments of osteoarthritis treatments in India – and how our Brandcare partner in Mumbai created a dramatic launch campaign for Hyalgan

Lupin, a top 10 Indian pharma company, enjoys a strong equity in orthopedics with a product basket of pain management solutions.

So, its decision to expand into the antiarthritic segment represented a challenge.

We were pleased that Lupin selected Brandcare to introduce Hyalgan Injection hyaluronic acid (HA) in India.

The three primary segments of osteoarthritis treatments are quite cluttered, divided into:
  • Pain management (dominated by NSAIDs and pain killers)
  • Disease-modifying (diacerein and combinations)
  • Oral viscosupplements (glucosamine/chondroitin)
The fourth segment, intra-articular viscosupplements, is not well perceived. Our research indicated that orthopedists in India were not satisfied with the results of currently available HA brands because of a perception of unpredictable outcomes. This was due to ambiguities in selecting the timing of its intervention, the degree of disease progression in patients, and the right daltonage of hyaluronic acid.

Our challenge was to overcome the experience to-date with current HA therapy and put the Hyalgan brand on a pedestal that promises predictable results. Compelling scientific data on molecular weights of HA therapies showed that the “right daltonage” of Hyalgan would mimic the original HA in the body. This led to the thoughtful creation of the concept “The Original HA.”

With dramatized imagery like an erupting volcano, the difference between Hyalgan and other HA therapies was brought forth.

Brandcare is a focused brand consultancy and design firm offering strategic and creative cutting-edge solutions in the healthcare segment. Its services include healthcare promotions, medical advertising, exhibitions, and training.

You can also read more about STINSON Brand Innovation and our international branding assignments in the “Global Issue” of our Accelerate newsletter.

Friday, January 15, 2010

36 Healing Plants

Awhile back, Jenny and I visited the Luther Burbank Home & Gardens in Santa Rosa, California. This historic landmark was where Luther Burbank, America’s greatest horticulturalist once lived and worked. The thing I found most interesting was the Medicinal Garden. It’s fascinating to think that these plants can help improve health and extend lives. Plants continue to play an important role as botanists and other scientists find new uses for them in agriculture and medicine.

Below is a reference guide to the medicinal herbs displayed in Burbank Medicinal Garden. Be sure to read the bottom of the second page. It highlights exciting and important developments being discovered on how certain plants have shown to successfully treat several forms of cancer.

And be sure to visit

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2008 to 2010 – are we making significant progress in healthcare IT?

Seeking to demonstrating the value of electronic health record interoperability, McKesson launched its brand of integrated electronic health record (EHR) and practice management solution called Practice Partner®

At conferences for the last year, McKesson created clinical scenarios enabled by the standards-based IHE framework and HITSP federally recognized Interoperability Specifications. It shows an example of an environment where patient health information is exchanged electronically across different healthcare settings.

McKesson says physician practices of all sizes and specialties use Practice Partner software nationwide to improve productivity and enhance quality of care in physician practices. In addition, Practice Partner Patient Records is designed to support interoperability standards for improved information exchange to help providers and other healthcare professionals efficiently deliver quality patient care.

Traditionally, the health-care industry has lagged behind other sectors when it comes to adopting technology.  It’s interesting to look back at an interview with Randy Spratt, the executive vice president and chief information officer at McKesson Corp., the largest pharmaceutical distributor in the U.S.

In that June 2008 interview, Spratt said:

“If you look at the health-care industry, today it can't exchange information. Every time you go to the doctor you fill out the same intake form. If you get hit by a truck and go to the emergency room, they have no idea what your medical history is. They can't easily integrate their suppliers and their customers.

There's so much potential, however. If a doctor knows that you've been on a certain medication for a couple of months, they know not to treat you in a particular way that would have an adverse impact. We think that the health-care industry is going to get there. We are on this exciting cusp where we are starting to see change take place. Cost is going to come down as administrative costs get taken out. If you can take it out of banking and you can take it out of travel, you can take it out of health care.

Health care, for a variety of reasons, has been the technology-adoption laggard of the U.S. Part of it is sheer complexity: The business model of health care is 100 times more complicated in terms of its information density and variability than any other business. Part of it is the economic model: Health care operates in very narrow margins, about 1% or 2% in for-profit institutions. So they don't have the resources to spend.

Over the last four or five years we've started to see what I think is an irrefutable return from some health-care technologies, like capturing MRI and other scans digitally. The technology to do it has been around for two decades, but it wasn't until the last few years that the price point and the performance of the technology made it possible for health-care organizations to adopt it.

The technology costs are continuing to drop and the performance is rising. These files are 100 megabytes large. It wasn't too long ago that sending a file like that would swamp your network and the storage to keep that file was unthinkably expensive. That's no longer the case.”

What’s your view – do you think IT-enabled healthcare is making the kind of progress we should expect?

I welcome your comments.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

110 million interactions with a brand most consumers have never heard of – interview with Healthwise founder, Don Kemper

“For most health consumers, Healthwise is the biggest brand they’ve never heard of,” says e-Patient Connections newsletter.

“Even though Healthwise content is accessed over a 110 million times a year, it is accessed most often through online health publishers, health plans, hospitals and disease management companies. Even though this company is over 30 years old, they continue to find innovative new ways to support patient decision-making.”

Healthwise founder Don Kemper was recently interviewed by Kevin Kruse, head of Krū Research, a global think tank focused on empowered patients who are increasingly marshalling digital technologies and communicating with peers to actively manage their health.

Here with permission from Krū Research is the interview:

Kevin Kruse: Don, why did you start Healthwise. It was back in the 70s right?

Don Kemper: That’s right 1975.  During the time of the Vietnam war, I became an officer with the Commissioned Corps of the US public health service.  One day I went to a talk by Vern Wilson, Assistant Secretary for the US Department of Health and Human Services. He said, “The greatest untapped resource in healthcare was the patient.” That just took hold of me and I decided that that was something I wanted to work on.  I had a baby at home at the time and somebody gave me the book by Doctor Spock on raising children. I started promoting the idea that we needed a Dr. Spock type book for the whole family that would guide people in how to take care of themselves… this led to the creation of Healthwise in 1975 and then later the Healthwise Handbook.

Kruse: Has the Healthwise mission changed since then?

Kemper: Well the mission hasn’t changed but the media changes. The mission has always been to help people make better health decisions. We did that initially through both the Healthwise handbook and workshop.  So we had a focus on education early on, just wasn’t as scalable as it is now on the Web.

Kruse: Healthwise online content is syndicated by most of the major health portals - how did you become an innovator with web technologies?

Kemper: We have a wind sculpture outside our building that’s devoted to our relentless innovation.  The base of it is solidly in the ground as is our mission, which never changes, but that sculpture is always in motion and it means we are continually trying to find new ways to help people make better health decisions.

Kruse: Speaking of innovations, are you embracing social media?

Kemper: We certainly are very supportive of the whole 2.0 movement and the social networks around health.  We think there are three sources of information that people need. They need to have information from their doctors, information that has a good solid evidence base, and then they need to hear from other people who have been in similar situations. The piece that we focus on is the information that is really documented by medical research.  We are really trying to find the right ways to reach out to the 2.0 group, so that we can get those two sources of information collaborating on a more regular basis and I think that’s going to happen in many different ways.

Kruse: Tell me more about your “virtual conversations.”

Kemper: Many people learn best through personal interaction with other individuals and we also know that psychologists have developed a number of techniques like motivational interviewing. We can now model these interactive conversations by using software developed by Jellyvision, the makers of the computer game called “You Don’t Know Jack.”  So instead of having the very obnoxious Jack run the game show we use a very supportive voice and individual called Shelley that guides the person through this interactive conversation.  One type of conversation is around medical gaps mostly in chronic illness. For example the importance of the hemoglobin A1c test for monitoring and controlling your diabetes or the importance of aspirin to a person at risk for heart disease.  The other type of conversation is around wellness.  We don’t have a prescription exercise program, but we have the conversation that will help you make an exercise program work for you. It’s like having a twenty-minute conversation with a psychologist around what is it going to take for you to be successful in your fitness program.

Kruse: Shifting to some business questions, how many employees do you have now? And you’re setup as a non-profit?

Kemper: We are a not-for-profit with 120 employees.  One advantage of being non-profit is that nobody can come buy us, so that’s good. The not-for-profit approach allows us to play with everybody now because they aren’t concerned that their main competitor might buy us or take us over. We are now used by all ten of the ten largest health plans.

Kruse: What are your future plans for Healthwise?

Kemper: Our next big initiative that we are currently looking for funding and partners for is taking on the whole issue of late life care. We want to use interactive conversation technology to engage elders and their family care givers.  We have identified 26 critical moments in late life care ranging from the early days of just helping prevent falls to deciding when you stop driving, all the way to when do you need to move out of your home, when do you need to put in your advance directives, etc.  We think this will be a highly impactful program that will address what has got to be one of the biggest problems in American medicine; the program is called “Elder Talks.” I think it is going to be a one of our major legacies.  Also we have 154 patient decision aids, which is by far more than anybody else in the world. These guide the person through clinical treatment decisions like do I need the surgery, do I need this drug, do I need this test, etc.  We’ve had these for quite a while, but we are releasing a whole new generation of them.  The same topics but reformatted into a much more interactive and richer user experience.  Last year we had about 10 million uses of these decision aids, so that they are making a big difference.

To learn more about Krū Research, visit

And connect with Healthwise at

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

N-of-8 top TV shows of the past decade

Reuters has released a list of the most-watched TV episodes of the past decade. Of course "Friends" and "Survivor" top the list, but there's some other entries that are quite surprising.
  1. Friends (52.5 million viewers) -- the series finale titled "The Last One." Rachel and Ross were back together, Monica and Chandler got their babies and everybody left Monica's empty apartment.
  2. Survivor (51.7 milion) -- the first season came to a close and the network TV landscape was never again the same. Reality TV programming was off and running, as Richard Hatch beat Kelly Wiglesworth for the prize.
  3. Joe Millionaire (40 million) -- the finale of "Joe Millionaire" comes in at the #3 spot? Stunning. Apparently people were very interested if Evan Marriott would choose wholesome Zora or slutty Sarah and whether the chosen one would care if he wasn't a millionaire.
  4. ER (39.4 million) -- the episode "All In the Family" is definitely one of the most compelling hours of television ever. When Carter and Lucy are stabbed by a schizophrenic patient, the entire team rallies to save them.
  5. American Idol (38.1 million) -- premiere of the sixth season is its most-watched episode. That's surprising. Not only was "Idol" coming off a rather lackluster season 5, but premiere episodes are even half as interesting as the actual performance episodes.
  6. Grey's Anatomy (38 million) -- "It's the End of the World As We Know It" benefited from the post- Super Bowl time slot. However, Grey's Anatomy used that plum slot to offer up a very exciting, bomb-squad filled episode.
  7. Who Wants to be a Millionaire (36 million) -- at the height of its popularity in 2000, Regis was bringing in 30+ million viewers four times a week. Incredible.
  8. Frasier (33.7 million) -- on the eve of Daphne's wedding, Niles finally tells her how he feels about it. It was a pair waiting seven seasons to be together and a lot of people tuned in to watch.
Rounding out the top ten are:
  • Everybody Loves Raymond (32.9 million) -- the biggest ratings draw was when the Emmy-winning sitcom went off the air after nine seasons. Everyone tuned into see how they would send off the Barone family and it did not disappoint. The show teased us with Raymond's near-death experience, which made his family act a little nicer towards him. But only a little.
  • Spin City (32.8 million) -- the "Goodbye" episode was Michael J. Fox's departure from the show because of Parkinson's disease.

Monday, January 11, 2010

11 hospitals of the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System are advancing health care with iPhone

With thousands of doctors, nurses, and administrators in 11 hospitals, including the busiest trauma center in the country, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System depends on the latest mobile technologies to streamline its services and deliver better patient care. iPhone and state-of-the-art medical apps like AirStrip OB let Memorial Hermann's physicians keep a finger on patients‚ pulses even when they can't be at their bedsides.

This is one of many enterprise profiles presented on Apple's website.

Based in Houston, TX, the fourth-largest city in the U.S., Memorial Hermann serves a metro area of more than five million people, providing everything from air ambulance services to a chemical dependency treatment center.

"Health care is a very real-time business," says David Bradshaw, Chief Information, Planning, and Marketing Officer at Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. "We need anywhere, anytime computing, and iPhone is the best platform for the applications we're choosing."

Secure Access to Medical Data

With its built-in support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, iPhone fits in flawlessly with Memorial Hermann's existing infrastructure. "For me, that tight integration with Microsoft Exchange is very important," says Dr. Robert Murphy, Memorial Hermann's Chief Medical Informatics Officer.

"It's as if you had the Outlook client on your iPhone," Bradshaw agrees. "Accepting meetings, looking at email and attachments, downloading spreadsheets. It's seamlessly integrated into our Exchange network."

iPhone security features such as remote wipe and passcode protection keep patient information confidential while remaining transparent to users. "The security technology is absolutely not in question," Dr. Murphy says. "Our security team has looked at the iPhone, and it not only meets the standards, it exceeds the standards."

Physicians Gain Efficiency

The simple iPhone interface and Multi-Touch technology let busy doctors get up to speed quickly. "The phone itself is very intuitive - you don't need an instruction manual," says obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Marco Giannotti.

And with hundreds of medical apps available, iPhone becomes an instant pocket reference for everything from anatomical charts to diagnostic tools, allowing clinicians the freedom to create their own application workflows.

iPhone gives doctors "the right information at the right moment," adds Dr. Murphy. "Having that information available right at the point of care, you feel more confident in your decision-making."

Medical Apps Deliver

The iPhone advantage is highlighted by apps like AirStrip OB, which enables obstetricians to monitor different stages of labor even when they're not by a patient's side. Developed by AirStrip Technologies, AirStrip OB links individual mobile devices to a central AirStrip server with HIPAA-compliant authentication, giving obstetricians remote access to live views of delivery room data - including fetal heart tracings, contraction patterns, vital statistics and nursing notes.

"AirStrip OB is an absolutely indispensable app on iPhone," Dr. Giannotti says. "It fundamentally changes the way I'm able to interact with labor and delivery. In a tenth of the time, without pulling a nurse away from what she‚s doing, I get all the real-time data I need at the touch of a button."

The option of viewing heart tracings in landscape mode distinguishes iPhone from other devices, and makes AirStrip OB an even better tool for obstetricians. "It's just off the chart how doctors who have iPhones are using AirStrip OB, compared to those who don't," Bradshaw observes.

Better Care via iPhone

With secure remote access to clinical data, must-have medical apps, and an interface that makes it easy to view and interpret key information, iPhone is clearly helping to improve health care at Memorial Hermann.

"There's no question that iPhone is making a difference in how patients are cared for," Bradshaw says. "Especially the ability to keep clinicians in constant contact with patients and the actual care setting. It's all about them delivering on why they went to school and became a doctor or a nurse. iPhone simply helps us deliver patient care in a more efficient, productive manner."

Click here to watch a video of iPhone in action at Memorial Hermann. 

Friday, January 08, 2010

8 South Asian countries are the next big emerging markets for life sciences firms looking for growth opportunities

At the end of next month, I’ll be conducting a branding and sales workshop for Asia-Pacific marketing managers.  So in preparation, I’ve been reviewing some key insights on leading health, science, and technology developments in key markets.

"The Outlook for Pharmaceuticals in South East Asia to 2013" report said eight Asian countries represented a total market of 588 million people and a combined GDP of $2.8 trillion in 2008.

The report, released by Research and Markets, said business opportunities in Asian pharmaceutical markets are very different from a few years ago. The traditional tiger economies, characterized by economic growth, free market environment, developed industry and investment in health and health infrastructure have had a long haul back from the financial instability and economic downturn in the 1990's.

At the same time, markets that had hitherto excited little industry or investor interest, have emerged as real areas of opportunity for suppliers and service companies alike. Diverse influences - from deregulation and better trade links to improved access and the rise of medical tourism - are seeing markets such as Malaysia and Vietnam take an increasingly important role in the region.

With established western markets maturing, serious attention is being paid to the countries where manufacturers can see significant long-term growth. However, effective planning is vital, and impartial, thoroughly researched business data is essential to fully appreciate the current market status as a basis for future development, the report said.
  1. The report said the Indonesian market for pharmaceuticals was valued at $1.9 billion in 2008, equal to just under $7 per capita. In overall terms, the market is similar in size to that of Egypt or Colombia, whereas in per capita terms, the total is similar to that of Vietnam. Indonesia spends an estimated 16.1% of its total health expenditure on pharmaceuticals, and around 0.4% if total GDP. The domestic pharmaceutical manufacturing industry is strong and the country has become an attractive base for many multinational producers to operate. This is largely down to a cheap labor force and generally inexpensive production costs.
  2. On Malaysia the report estimated the current growth in the market to be 11.1% per year. This would see the market surpass the $1 billion mark by 2009, and reach $1.4 billion by 2012, or $47 per capita. Having weathered the aftermath of the 1998 economic crash better than most, market growth accelerated considerably in the following years, as imports in particular continued to increase and dominate the market.
  3. About Philippines, changes to be brought by the controversial Cheaper Medicine Bill will impact the Philippines pharmaceutical market in a number of areas, including IP laws, competition and drug price control mechanisms. The market is expected to be especially volatile in the 2008-2010 period. The Philippines pharmaceutical market is valued at $1.4 billion in 2008, equal to nearly $15 per capita. In terms of the overall market this is comparable to Thailand, and in per capita terms similar to China and Iran.
  4. The report estimates the Singapore market to exhibit annual average growth of around 4%, with impressive economic indicators being tempered by the limited population size. Based on this rate, it is estimated the market will reach $809 million by 2012, equal to $176 per capita. The manufacture of pharmaceuticals is dominated by multinational companies and the government has indicated that it wants at least ten multinational manufacturing facilities operational in Singapore by 2010.
  5. The South Korean pharmaceutical market is the largest of all the 'Asian Tigers' by some considerable distance, one of the twenty largest in the world and is similar in size to that of Brazil and India. In per capita terms, the market is comparable to fellow 'Tiger' nations, Singapore and Taiwan. Intellectual property protection, long regarded as being insufficient, is likely to improve with the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed with the US in 2007, with an improved patent linkage system to be implemented by 2009, the report said.
  6. Taiwan is a difficult, but attractive market with strong fundamentals. Taiwan's healthy economy, steadying currency and growing imports of pharmaceuticals should see the pharma market surpass the $6 billion mark by 2012. There is a heavy multinational presence - over 70% of the market is controlled by overseas multinationals. Over 100 generic drug manufacturers currently operate in Taiwan. An opaque regulatory process and discriminatory reimbursement practices exist and legislation to bring the country more in line with international standards has been announced, but so far, little has changed.
  7. While import levels for modern drugs are approaching levels last seen before the economic recession, the Thailand market is heavily reliant on generics. The government's relationship with the international pharmaceutical industry continues to be uneasy, largely due to the country's lax patent laws and preferential treatment of domestic producers. The compulsory licensing of drugs by the government has further compounded this problem.
  8. The pharmaceutical market is expected to expand slowly in Vietnam over the next few years. The government hopes to boost per capita spending to $10-15 by 2010, through a major development program, although this figure looks ambitious. Opportunities exist within the Vietnamese market in terms of specialist pharmaceutical production, the report added.
(Source: BioSpectrum Asia, providing a specialized business-to-business information platform for life sciences industry, with comprehensive coverage and useful insights in the exciting areas of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, R&D, and policies.)

You can also read more about STINSON Brand Innovation and our branding assignments in Asia in the year-end “Global Issue” of our Accelerate newsletter.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

2 brand strategy white papers published in Chinese by STINSON

Because STINSON Brand Innovation is working with clients in China – and we’ve been approached about other new opportunities in their expanding pharma market – we saw a need to translate two of our strategic position papers to Chinese.

#10 - How to Create Greater Value
for Life Science Research With Earlier
Brand Innovation

#20 - How to Create Guidance System
for Life Science Brands
    Merck Chemicals in Shanghai and Onwon Trading Ltd., an independent life science distributor in Hong Kong, are two companies we currently work with. We were also recently contacted by a CRO planning to expand its clinical trial offerings throughout China and other Asian markets.

    Many thanks to our intern Wei (Norah) Tang, a native of Hangzhou, for facilitating these translations.

    Click here to go to our website and download these white papers.

    Tuesday, January 05, 2010

    $3B brand challenge – Prolia is one to watch in 2010

    The bar is continuing to be raised for new bio-pharma brands by investigators, regulators, insurers, and investors.

    One example to keep our eyes on in 2010 is Amgen's bone-loss treatment brand Prolia (denosumab).

    In October, the FDA rejected six NDAs, saying it wanted more trials.

    But the rewards of getting it right are still significant.  One report says the postmenopausal osteoporosis treatment market, where Prolia is closest to approval, is worth three times more than all the rest combined. And the biggest opportunity is yet to come, if the drug gains approvals for the reduction of fracture risk in various cancers and for the prevention of bone metastases.

    Bone loss is a huge and growing medical problem: Up to 50% of women and 30% of men will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetimes, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation. If the FDA approves Prolia for those uses, the drug could bring in as much as $3 billion a year, analysts predict.

    At a time when the country is focused on reforming health care, however, some experts are asking an important question: Can the U.S. afford to protect the bones of millions of aging baby boomers?

    In Business Week, Mayo Clinic professor of medicine Dr. Sundeep Khosla questioned whether Amgen's drug is that much better than older, more affordable alternatives, such as Merck's Fosamax, now available as a generic for as little as $100 a year. Amgen has not talked about pricing, but because Prolia is a biologic drug, it will likely cost more than even the priciest alternatives, such as Roche's Boniva and Novartis's Reclast, which cost up to $2,000 a year. "If there's only a marginal difference, you really need a reason not to use those older drugs," says Khosla.

    Denosumab performed well in two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Aug. 11. In post-menopausal women with osteoporosis, it reduced hip fractures by 40% and spine fractures by 68%, when tested against a placebo. Yet Amgen has done just a handful of trials comparing denosumab to currently marketed osteoporosis drugs. And those trials only measured bone density--not fracture risk. Without more definitive studies, doctors may choose to stick with old standbys.

    Amgen is playing up the fact that Prolia requires nothing more than a twice-yearly injection. Other bone treatments require intravenous infusions, and Fosamax is a pill that's taken weekly or daily. As for the cost, Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter, Amgen's executive vice-president for research and development, said in an interview last June, "We don't intend to be exploitative. We want the value proposition to be clear."

    Prolia may be the biggest marketing challenge the 29-year-old biotech has ever faced. The market for osteoporosis drugs is $5 billion but shrinking as insurers push patients to switch to generic Fosamax. That has sparked a marketing war: In 2008, Roche spent $92 million advertising Boniva, according to TNS Media Intelligence, while Novartis spent $53 million pitching Reclast. Amgen will have to put plenty of promotional muscle behind Prolia to convince doctors -- and insurers -- that the drug is a cut above those treatments.

    At year’s end, Prolia received recommended for approval by The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use of the European Medicines Agency.

    Monday, January 04, 2010

    1910 book may inspire your 2010 vegan diet

    Health clubs seize the moment of a new year, inviting the newly resolute to begin shedding the unwanted weight which is a symbol of the lifestyle choices which they sincerely hope to change.

    GK Chesterton wrote: “The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. Unless a man starts on the strange assumption that he has never existed before, it is quite certain that he will never exist afterwards.”

    There are also many people who start the new year wanting to explore and experience the health benefits of a vegan diet.  If you’re one of them, I invite you to download a free copy of our Innovation Classic e-book entitled, No Animal Food, originally published by Rupert H. Wheldon – in 1910, so it’s hardly a fad diet book.

    Click here to download No Animal Food with our compliments.

    Friday, January 01, 2010

    2010 begins on a healthy note

    I resolved to end my 2009 and begin my 2010 on a healthy note.

    We enjoyed a great New Year's Eve night run on the Boise Greenbelt (complete with headlamps). And the YMCA New Year's Day 5K this morning was invigorating.

    So Happy New Year to all. I'm positive that 2010 will be a great year, I can feel it.  Remember to keep your health goals among your resolutions -- and as in everything always dream big. I know I do!