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Navigating Italy’s complex healthcare system

Taking a multi-channel approach is essential when it comes to product launches and other activities

Online physician communitiesThe restructure and re-organisation of Italy's National Health System, which has seen decision-making devolved from central to regional and sometimes local control in recent years, has created numerous challenges for pharma companies.

Pharma must now seek individual approval for its drugs from Italy's 23 healthcare regions, each of which has its own rules and regulations. It must then tailor product launches and other activities accordingly.

In addition, pharma must manage the new limits that are imposed every year on the number of doctors it can visit and the regular cuts that the Italian Government makes to drug prices, plus frequent changes in copyright restrictions.

In order to overcome these challenges, pharma must target doctors in a very flexible way, taking into account their geographical location as well as other factors such as their age and specialty.

Pharma also needs to be able to engage with its audience on their terms and via the many different communications channels they use. Therefore a multi-channel approach is essential.

Networks in Health's new partner, Merqurio, which is the largest online doctor network in Italy with about 160,000 members, offers a solution to the complexity of the Italian healthcare system by providing clients with an end to end multichannel solution. Thanks to their understanding of the Italian system, plus extensive profiling and measurement capabilities, they are able to gather first-hand knowledge of how doctors work and what kind of resources they need. These insights are used to help pharma target specific doctors in different regions effectively.

An example of the effectiveness of this approach is illustrated by one of Merqurio's pharma clients which achieved its targets in curbing declining sales for a semi-synthetic penicillin. The company targeted more than 3,000 paediatricians in Lombardia, Lazio, Sicilia, Calabria and Piemonte. This was achieved via email marketing, microsite, online advertising and phone detailing.

Networks in Health enables pharma to take its international activity a stage further by enabling it to access members of Merqurio and other doctor networks across the world via a single channel. This enables pharma to procure and manage sales and marketing programmes across multiple territories, and to compare the performance of programmes across different countries, brands and regions.

For more information on Networks in Health, please email Alex.Merckx@networksinhealth.com You can also follow Networks in Health on Twitter: @netwrksinhealth

23rd September 2013

From: Marketing

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