NHS finances: All Bets Are Off
SummaryAhead of the NHS Confederation Conference last month, David Nicholson, Chief Executive of NHS pulled no punches with his assessment of NHS finances.
A growing number of PCOs now have a policy in place to ban their staff from interaction with pharma sales and marketing personnel. While we have seen anti-industry policies in the past, these new initiatives have teeth and in some PCOs, the staff are genuinely scared.
Why is there so little value being placed on industry interaction by PCOs?
Many quote the reason for this as having proof that such interaction has no value. In writing many PCOs cite that there may be a conflict of interest as the PCO has to prioritise local delivery of care within budget and the pharmaceutical company must deliver for its shareholders. In discussion the PCO staff relate incidents of feeling uneasy with Representatives. Is this due to the organisational pressures - the PCO guidance or is it due to the Pharma Company? Definitely a topic for debate. Even willing customers are finding it more difficult to justify seeing Representatives.
Example guidance to staff includes
• Meeting with representatives could be a disciplinary matter
• Meetings with representatives should only be in exceptional circumstances.
• If a topic is of interest, staff should ask for information to be sent to them. They should critically evaluate the information sent and not rely on it as their sole source of information.
The prescribing managers are being trained to enhance their ability to influence prescribing. Understandably, they want to ensure that messages which contradict their guidance should not be delivered. In particular they wish to protect non medical prescribers from industry influence.
Furthermore, where the pharma messages are aligned with those of the prescribing managers, there is great reluctance to associate the guidance with a pharmaceutical company.
Many PCOs have a guidance document for working in partnership with pharma. These make interesting reading. Not just for the guidance but the insight it provides into the beliefs, values and attitudes of the PCO in the context of the pharmaceutical industry. It is worth getting a copy from your target PCOs. This will ensure you are sensitive to local guidance when with your customers.
The question is how can each particular Representative add value and ensure that value is recognised so that they become valued? Seeing your customer is not the only solution. How else could pharma interact? It might be via a peer or in writing. It is more important than ever to target your communication and align it with the customer’s remits and responsibilities to allow them to make best use of their time. The recent ‘flu pandemic has taken priority for many of your PCO customers, leaving previous priorities neglected and leaving negligible time to see Representatives. PDC has provided support in set up and manning of antiviral collection points and has been helping to reduce the day to day workload through provision of flexible outsourced help. We also help to get the neglected priorities back on track. We assure you that when your customers cite the ‘flu pandemic as a reason why they are too busy to see you, they are definitely telling you the truth. They have never been so busy or pressurised. PDC Healthcare has access to the vast majority of PCOs. This is because we offer them trusted, useful, well researched and efficient interaction. We will never abuse this trust. Our mission is to optimise healthcare for patients. If you have a message that is of real value and relevance to your PCO customers, we will be delighted to see if we can help you deliver it in alignment with the needs of those customers. Call Miriam George, Managing Director, now on 01530 459761 for the most cost effective solutions.