Maria Fontanazza

Continuing to be an advocate for industry

By Maria Fontanazza • [email protected]

For our 40th Anniversary Edition, we asked our editorial advisory board members to talk about the most significant strides they’ve seen over the course of their careers, how client challenges have changed, thoughts on talent and recruitment strategies, and trends that are advancing the industry. Obviously one of the biggest changes has been the role of digital technology and its part in personalization. But frankly, we barely scratched the surface! 

“So many things are changing for our clients, including the ways that they’re doing business and engaging with their customers. We know that consumers are in more control than ever, increasingly empowered. And that evolving journey needs to be navigated by our clients as they educate markets on health brands and improve patient outcomes,” says Kim Johnson, global CEO, Ogilvy Health. “We have new media and expanded engagement platforms. Virtual care is accelerating, and AI is increasingly relevant. As health continues to transform and systems consolidate and gain influence, how we navigate the market access landscape is everchanging. The work we do in health care is meaningful and complex, and there are also tremendous advancements in science. New brands are coming to market and delivering value to patient populations with high unmet need areas – and incremental benefits to patient types across therapeutic categories.” We’ve seen this progress in the work to address rare diseases and most recently, in the collaboration involved in the development of vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Despite the tremendous advances the pharmaceutical industry has made, it hasn’t always been viewed in the best light. “I really think the reputation of the industry changed considerably with the response to the COVID pandemic and its ability to mobilize and create vaccines in record time,” says Neil Matheson, chairman, Atlantis Healthcare. “That was a result of the removal of the bureaucratic limitations to drug and vaccine development, and due to motivation to do something for mankind and humanity. That’s always been the driving force of the industry, but it shouldn’t take a pandemic for it to become the number one priority. I would like to see the industry do a much better job of educating and helping people understand what it really takes to bring a new treatment to market and the impact in terms of patient outcomes and lives.” Our experts agreed that pharma marketers are continuing to work hard to help the industry collectively put its best foot forward in communicating its value to HCPs and patients. 

In the coming months our discussions in this vein will continue, so expect to read insights from more folks about how the industry has changed, and most importantly, where they see evolution moving forward. 

When founded in 1982, Med Ad News broke ground as a communications resource for the industry. “I think one of the things that should not be lost is the foundational step that Med Ad News made to help democratize and give agencies a voice out there and enable people to share information, see other campaigns, and learn from each other. It was harder before Med Ad News,” says Mike Myers, cofounder and managing director, CrowdPharm. “Med Ad News was the first one to do it; now they’re not the only one to do it. But you were pioneering in that manner, and I don’t think it should be lost. You deserve a pat on the back. A lot of things don’t stick around for 40 years.” 

Maria Fontanazza, Med Ad News

Maria Fontanazza is the director of content, Med Ad News and PharmaLive.com