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When a company makes a medication or medical device, they face the challenge of marketing it.

In medications, the general approach is to either get Doctors to prescribe a medication themselves or to promote patients asking for the medication.

In devices, the general approach is to target distribution channels and important purchasers, such as hospital supply managers or influential Doctors.

The key is to establish a product as the normal choice in a field or for a condition.  An asthma med’s goal is to have a Doctor think of it as a normal treatment for asthma.  This ensures sales for many years.

Because of how lucrative medical products can be, however, and the great returns marketing can provide, many companies have indulged in unethical behavior.  This can consist of misleading or misrepresenting the benefits a product has.

For medications, for instance, marketing statements must be limited to the official information approved in the drug label.

Here are some marketing items for a new medical device, along with how it applies to new medications.  It is presented to provide a window into how new medical products are marketed and ultimately sold:

Medical Marketing Approaches

– Create literature and research about the product and then publish results in journals

This is very powerful.  A positive article in the New England Journal of Medicine can make a tremendous difference.

– Product donation and placement with leading Doctors, particularly key opinion leaders and those in charge of purchasing for hospitals.  Create awareness of the new product and its benefits.

In both meds and devices, there are key figures who are very influential.  Some Doctors are well respected by their peers and play a major role in the adoption – or not – of a new technology.

Understanding this and marketing to those Doctors is a large part of modern medical marketing.

– Aim to achieve placement of product in educational settings which are open to experimentation with new medical technologies and who are influential.  These institutes are willing to try something new, and play a key role in convincing other people to do so as well.

– Develop relationships with distributers and consider attaining distribution through their methods or advertising through their network

A medical device manufacturer can gain positive advertising through promotion by distributers.

–  Attend/speak at important medical conferences.  Presentations and events at medical conferences around an issue can be a powerful way to influence and help promote a product and is a key part in marketing medical innovation.

Presenting on a cancer therapy at a convention of oncologists, or cancer specialists, can help promote the therapy.

– Advertise in medical journals.

– Advertise on TV

– Continuing medical education – attain status as a provider of continuing medical education and develop such material that teaches about the benefits of a product

– Targeted websites and online advertising.  Create websites that either reflect patient experiences or are targeted to doctors, and use online advertising methods to promote.