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MODERN ASPECTS OF POSITIONING DRUGS ON THE PHARMACEUTICAL MARKET
National University of Pharmacy, Ukraine, Kharkiv
Introduction. With the increased competition between manufacturers of original and generic drugs and saturation of certain market segments by many drugs with close therapeutic efficiency, positioning has a primary role as a process for creating drug secluded place in the market and in the minds of target audiences/customers in order to highlight among the competitors. Positioning is considered as real actions on a market according to the developed marketing strategies, and marketing activities that lead consumers to understanding or feeling the competitive advantages of the drug and encourage consumers to buy it. Legislation restricting certain forms of market promotion, intensity and diversity of channels of marketing communications of companies, and frequent change of key messages and the nature of the information about drugs is put before pharmaceutical companies the task of finding modern effective means and ways of drugs positioning in the process of pharmaceutical brands forming. The scientific literature describes different ways of drugs positioning: based on specific properties, based on consumer benefits, in relation to the consumer, on the basis of the ratio "price and quality", the definition of the manufacturing country and others. [3, 12, 13]. In the works [6, 7, 9] special features of prescription, OTC, original and generic drugs positioning are viewed.
The traditional approach highlights the study of drugs positioning of different pharmacological groups as a result of their assessment by experts (often by the criteria of therapeutic efficacy, safety) and consumers . Evaluation of positioning is also carried out by perceptual maps in scorecard "image (perceived quality) - price" . However, the conditions of the pharmaceutical market impose urgent need for systematization and improvement of existing tools for marketing.
The purpose of this article is analysis of current aspects of drugs positioning on the pharmaceutical market on the basis of scientific sources and practical activity of domestic and foreign pharmaceutical companies.
Data and methods. Historical, logical and content analysis have been used, advertising materials of pharmaceutical companies, web sites and publications in specialized medical and pharmaceutical journals have been studied.
Results and discussion. It has been found, that pharmaceutical manufacturers use different positioning strategies for their products, the choice of strategies is caused by the characteristics of drugs and target audiences. Trade name, price and packaging are positioning tools. Final consumers, doctors, pharmacists, government agencies, healthcare organizers, hospitals and insurance companies are target audience of drugs positioning . Effect of professionals on consumers’ choice, inability to apply directly to the consumers of prescription drugs and the need in simultaneous exposure on multiple target audiences lead to double and even triple-positioning of drugs. .
For an audience of doctors emphasis is placed primarily on the rational characteristics of drugs (therapeutic efficacy, safety, price / performance ratio) with reference to official sources of information. Positioning of drugs as sales leaders on their respective market segments, justification demand for them and recommendations for the formation commodity stocks in pharmacies are instruments of influence on managers and pharmacists. When positioning drugs to consumers are used such arguments as convenience of application, speed of action, choice of taste, single dose during the day, the possibility of using drugs while driving and others .
Pharmaceutical companies position their product range on different levels: at the level of the enterprise, at the level of drug assortment line, at the level of modification of the drug. At the level of enterprise drugs positioning begins with the statement of the mission, goals and strategy, and development of corporate identity and packaging. Example, the mission of company Zdorovie is "to determine quality of life of every person, regardless of social position."
Achieving mission is possible by introduction of the latest achievements of domestic and foreign medical and pharmaceutical science, and production of modern high effective drugs. Packaging of the majority of drugs is produced in accordance with accepted corporate style, and has branded strips and logo, and allows to professionals and consumers easily identify products of the company. Strategic direction of the company is determined to promote to the domestic market modern high quality generic drugs. Working for the future is the production of original drugs and solving the urgent problems of national health care, including cancer, HIV / AIDS, tuberculosis. .
Examplesof successful positioning of assortment lines of domestic producers are syrups for children "Liki Vedmedika Bo" (Borschagovsky Chemical and Pharmaceutical Plant). Application of corporate personage in combination with the design of packaging can successfully position these drugs, improve the effectiveness of advertising and provides recognition of customers, and loyalty to the brand. Assortment line "Priroda likuje" (pharmaceutical company Zdorovie) is a symbol of a comprehensive program of provision of population with herbal drugs. In combination with the package design it enables successfully positioning classical and innovative drugs of the manufacturer.
Positioning medicines by domestic enterprises at the level of individual brand is predominantly used for innovational (original) drugs and branded generics. Price positioning is most common for generic drugs, it bases on lower price in comparison with the original products or on the optimal price / performance ratio.
For a number of generic drugs, positioning is based on maximal identity of the original drugs (brands). Leading domestic companies go through the creation of an evidence base for its branded generics based on establishing bioequivalence with the original drugs, pharmacokinetic equivalence and therapeutic efficacy in comparison with original or popular drugs. Currently leading domestic manufacturers to conduct clinical trials to study the bioequivalence of drugs is a corporation "Arterium."
Positioning with the allocation the competitive advantages of drugs by the unique properties and characteristics of specific drugs that distinguish them from competitors is widely used. So unique shopping offers of the pharmaceutical company Zdorovie are based on a fundamentally new molecules, original production technologies, unique combinations, leading in bringing new drugs to the market and primacy in the development of new forms of production . It's very common the positioning of drugs, based on the benefits that the consumer gets from using the drug, on the identification of events of consumption, on the identification (expanding) the range of target consumers, and on opposition to competitors .
Positioning at the level of modifying drug is designed to meet the needs of a broader range of customers. Creation of new dosages and forms of production, economic packages and flavor variations of drugs can make the drugs more accessible to a wide range of consumers, better meet consumer demand, provides ease of use and transportation, and create a reserve for unexpected cases etc. .
Recently, the role of packaging as a tool for positioning of drugs has increased significantly. Packaging is used to determine the pharmacological orientation of drugs by drawing schematically organs and organ systems, emphasizing the naturalness of drugs (herbal medicines, bee products), flavor variations, determining the age group of consumers, providing additional ease of use and protection against fraud. Using new packaging allows positioning products as high quality and penetrating into the more expensive price segment.
Recently, the interest of drug manufacturers in pharmacoeconomic studies in terms of their use in pharmaceutical marketing has increased significantly . Pharmacoepidemiological study and analysis of "cost of disease", that held by the manufacturer of innovative drugs, help to updating problems and attract attention of the medical community and society in general to some illness and form the company's image as a socially responsible one. Sponsoring activity of companies in conducting educational programs for physicians, pharmacists and final consumers, that regarding to early detection and treatment of certain diseases, reinforce this image. The "cost-effectiveness" analysis is the basis for including medicines to various lists (essential medicines; drugs that may be procured by public funds; including in medical standards and clinical protocols). This analysis expands opportunities for drug promotion to the hospital market segment. According to the analysis "the impact on the budget" may be the inclusion of drugs in public programs, determine the real cost of additional costs or savings budget when using the drug. Evaluation of real consumption enables determination of the prevalence of certain illness, assessment of the use of new drugs on health indicators, forming recommendations for the inclusion of new drugs in the regulatory lists. Evaluation of standards of healthcare is the basis to justify of additional funding for certain illnesses on the base on generally accepted international standards. Comparative evaluation of clinical efficacy and pharmacoeconomic analysis of original and generic drugs enable to distinguish them and justify the choice between them depending on their quality and price. Using methods of pharmacoeconomic analysis, drug manufacturers can assess the potential contribution of new drugs in the treatment process, and on the basis of determining the market value can establish competitive prices .
The information compiled from the results of pharmacoeconomic studies may be given with the aim to influence the target audience as "key messages" already at the stage of drug prelaunch, using the available channels (managers working with government agencies, managers working with key customers, regional managers and medical representatives).
To improve positioning, producers need to consider the requirements of target segments, monitor market and customer needs, monitor compliance of positioning their products to the market demands, analyze competitive advantages and disadvantages of the enterprise, consider the psychological features of perception by experts and consumers position and image of drugs and image of the manufacturer .
Positioning statements in the form of key messages should be consistently shown in marketing communications of pharmaceutical companies. The possibility to quickly change the key messages and the character of the information in response to the actions of competitors is advantage of using medical representatives in the promotion of drugs.
Repositioning of drugs may be aimed at increasing the number of contacts with target audiences and shifting the focus to other target groups, and is useful in cases of depletion of resources of previous communications and slowing sales growth . According to experts, the main motives that encourage drug manufacturers to resort to repositioning drugs, are the expiry of patent protection, a bad initial positioning, the transition from "non-personalized" generics with the international non-proprietary name to branded drugs, the need for differentiation of new competitors, protection against counterfeiting, response to competitors' actions and failed product name for the local market. . Among the many methods of "rejuvenation" and "new birth" of drugs there are the creation of modifications with more convenient dosing regimen, new dosage forms of drugs with controlled release of active substances, the dissemination of information about new medical properties, the transition to the new package, new advertising company and transfer prescription drug in the category of OTC drugs .
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