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Industry body recommends flexibility while economic pressures continue

HCA report highlights opportunity during financial uncertainty

The Healthcare Communications Association (HCA) has advised communications companies to “demonstrate value and capitalise on new opportunities”, in order to prosper at a time when budgetary pressures continue.

A new report entitled Widening the Focus: The Continued Evolution of Healthcare Communications reveals findings from the HCA's latest annual membership survey and presents patterns that have emerged from the surveys over the last 10 years.

"The HCA's research reinforces the importance of industry and agencies working in partnership to demonstrate and deliver the value that communications can bring, which has always been a fundamental tenet of the HCA," says HCA chief executive Julia Cook.

"There is no doubt that it has become much tougher for both agency and in-house teams over the last 10 years, as pharmaceutical industry pipelines diminish against a backdrop of global recession.

"Yet at the same time the communications industry has responded to new challenges by diversifying its range of activities and capitalising on new technology, and it is growing in size and scope," she said.

The report claims that over the past decade there has been a shift away from 'traditional PR', with an increased focus on strategic counsel, web-based/digital work, as well as developing skills in new areas such as market access.

"Although we are in a cost-containment environment, there are huge opportunities for healthcare communications to evolve and demonstrate where it can add value," said director of external communications at GlaxoSmithKline, Philippa Manning.

"For example, communications may play an important part of solutions to market access challenges with customers and I don't think this potential has yet been fully recognised".

Recruitment has remained the number one issue for consultancies over the last 10 years.

The survey also found a significant drop in communications programme budgets, despite increasing pressure on agencies to discount their fees; which the report says is clearly linked to the development of the procurement function within pharma companies.

Read the full survey here

23rd January 2013

From: Marketing



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