pharma 2015

This year has started out great, with lots of opportunities to think about
where the pharma marketing in Japan will be going in 2015 and beyond.
Here are some of my thoughts:

1) generics are for real - we have heard lots of talk over the past few years
about generics, but there were still nagging healthcare professional 
concerns about quality & supply issues, as well as general skepticism
among patients regarding switching from branded products. Those days are
gone. The MHLW is pushing the point system hard, almost every major
pharma has its own generic subsidiary or tie-up, and authorized generics 
have debuted. Commercial teams should realize that Japan has finally
caught up to the rest of the world in this respect - and talk about "defending" 
products after loss of exclusivity has become largely a waste of time and

2) area strategies will be key - as the market demand for local healthcare
collaboration increases, pharma companies are responding by shifting more
budgeting and tactical decision-making to field management. That means
that head-office commercial teams are going to need to be more flexible in
offering options, and also more sophisticated in gathering performance results
from disparate  combinations of initiatives to identify what works best and
share that back into the field.

3) multi-channel advantages await - physicians new CRM solutions are
everywhere, but very few are working well on an operational level. One key
reason is that marketers have not yet adapted their traditional approaches in
order to leverage them properly. Those teams that can leverage insights
generation in order to define a true needs-based segmentation scheme, and
then tweak their market messages and activities to deliver value to priority
segments - instead of relying on across-the-board share of voice - will help
their MR's stand out and create real synergies with the sales force.

4) "beyond the pill" value is required - this has become a recent buzzword,
but MR's lining up in hospital corridors to hammer home product-focused
messages are not going to get face time with their physician customers
anymore. Marketers need to help them talk about patient types, treatment
options, local healthcare networks, and other tangential issues, adding value
to each and every customer interaction in the process.

Exciting times are on the way, as market pressures will help to distinguish
clever, strategic marketing from yesterday's run-of-the-mill approaches.

jeffjapan at 13:15コメント(0) 






ご興味のある方、是非ご連絡を下さい。この記事についてコメントを書いていただいても構いませんし、(自分のコメントを公開しないでほしいのであればその通りに書いてね)、 あてにメールを送ってくださってもOKです。これからやることですので皆さまの意見を聞きながら構築したいと思います。だれでもお世話になっている日本のヘルスケアシステムが破綻しないように、より患者側の視点に注目しながら、貢献していきたいです。よろしくお願いします。

jeffjapan at 12:26コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 







jeffjapan at 13:49コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 


dog days of summer

good dogMy dog Linda is one of those kinda-trained types that follows directions just often enough to allow the humans around her to feel a sense of control. After many years of daily feedings, morning and evening exercise runs, mock fights on the living room floor, and everything else we have shared, we both know the regular routines and hardly need to glance at each other to get through most activities without a hitch. But now that she is getting on in years, she is starting to pick and choose a little bit more whether to follow non-standard commands (refusing to go upstairs for bed until a certain time,  not shutting  up and sitting still  when the rest of the family heads out on a Saturday ride to the pool and leaves her in the yard...).

Two books that I read recently made me think a little bit more about how Linda might be seeing things. And they also gave me some insights into how I might better deal with the people around me as well, especially those that I need to coach and teach in my job.

I highly recommend the first one, The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein. It is narrated in the first person by the eloquent Enzo, a lovable mutt firmly devoted to his master Denny, an aspiring race care driver with a sick wife and lovely young daughter. They go through a lot together, with Enzo constantly frustrated by his inability to communicate consistently with Denny because of his lack of thumbs and an effective tongue to speak with. As he says in the first sentence: "Gestures are all that I have; sometimes they must be grand in nature." And as with my Linda, those gestures range from wild barking and jumping to urinating on papers and ripping up a roomful of girl's dolls. But the power of the writing makes you really understand Enzo - and made me really think again about how little I sometimes work to truly listen to and understand those around me. And I don't just mean Linda.

If you are into car racing, there are also some real treats in this book - including the scene where Enzo accompanies Denny out for some hot laps on a test track. "Two barks means faster!"

The other book, Don't Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training by Karen Pryor is basically a how-to approach to applying the rules of training by reinforcement. If you can get used to its kind of weird mix of technical academic terminology (conditioned reinforcers, event markers), animal anecdotes ("I shaped a large hermit crab once to ring a dinner bell by pulling on a string with its claw.") and human behavior examples (from conducting orchestras to learning how to putt), it offers some really valuable insights into how you to motivate and "shape" yourself and those around you in a positive way. And not just by bringing a clicker to the next company meeting...



jeffjapan at 22:02コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 


asashoryu and the future of japan

Sumo grand champion Asashoryu's sudden retirement was a real

downer for me, as it reminded me of many things I don't

particularly like about Japan. As a foreign rikishi, he surely

had to go through a lot before achieving the success he did. I

can easily imagine his loneliness during those long days of

training, his frustrations at not easily understanding or

being understood by his colleagues and peers, his bewilderment

that certain things that he considered unimportant were seemingly 

blown out of proportion by everyone around him...


Of course, it would be an overstatement to say that Asashoryu

Was "driven out"of sumo by some shadowy cabal that can't stand

the idea that for many years the top ranks of sumo have been

dominated by non-Japanese wrestlers. His behavior has long been

controversial here, and as a matter of principle it is important

for any foreign guest in any country to play by the law of the

land – so in large part his stepping down was just the logical

result of his earlier actions.


But coming from the US, where our famous athletes REALLY know

how to get in trouble - from shooting themselves in the leg at a

nightclub and brandishing firearms in the clubhouse pre-game

locker room to jumping into the stands to fight fans on a semi-

regular basis - Asashoryu's transgressions seem tame at best. At

the end of the day, the expectations of society became too heavy

for him, so he stepped down just when his rivalry with Hakuho was

heating up and sumo was developing a compelling storyline that

might have helped revitalize the sport.


From my own perspective, this reminds me of cases I see in Japan

business too often. An established group is threatened with a 

looming crisis (as with the sumo world, this can often be

summarized as "shrinking domestic business"). They have some

emerging yet controversial potential strength at hand (an

exciting yet scandal-prone yokozuna, a technology proven in

the local market yet untested overseas, or the untapped

resources of young women that could be used to develop new-

look business models in their company). But leveraging this

new strength would require wholesale changes in their group or

corporate culture and leadership styles. Instead of making a

move, they dither and dather, trying to hold on to the status

quo and praying for the emergence of the next Takanohana /

Wakanohana Japanese-born sumo pair, a rebound in the yen-dollar

exchange rate, the next blockbuster drug, or whatever other

magic they might need. Of course, that doesn't come to pass,

and by then that potential strength is long gone. 


Think JAL's top management with blinders on over the last decade.

Think Japanese government and industry's need for innovative

entrepreneurship and the way they absolutely decimated any

possibility that risk-taking would improve by excoriating

Horiemon & Livedoor several years ago. Think any pharma company

that clearly recognizes that young female MR's are outstanding

performers but haven't made the real effort needed to give them

a career path and retain them past the age of 30 (less than 1%

of the sales managers I meet in that industry here are women). 


I really hope that Japan as a whole will find a way to avoid a

fast slide into an age of irrelevance. Many people just write

this type of problem off to the seniority system and expect that

things will do a 180 once the "dankai" generation filters out

of action through age attrition. But I think there is more to

it than that. As a whole, the culture needs to adapt to better

support outliers like Asashoryu, problematic as they might be.

All in all he did a really good job at fitting in. His Japanese

is excellent. His interviews were a bit edgy, but never

ridiculous. His dohyo entrances were done with dignity and

style, even as his pre-bout preparation was borderline manic.

More than anything, he performed, and people appreciated what

He had to offer. It is a shame that they couldn't find a way to

keep him where he belongs – in the dohyo.


jeffjapan at 17:16コメント(0)トラックバック(0)