Diabetics who stop taking insulin shots. People with high blood pressure who don't take their medicine. AIDS patients who ignore their doctors' orders.
Adherence—the degree to which patients follow their doctors' treatment plans—is a hot issue in the pharmaceutical category because if people end their drug therapy, they are less likely to buy that drug in the future. Now LLKFB, an Omnicom unit specializing in healthcare, has launched an "adherence practice" to help pharmaceutical clients monitor and analyze patient drug use.
IPG and Publicis healthcare shops have created adherence campaigns, but neither has a formal unit. WPP's Commonhealth has two groups that work on adherence: MBS Vox, and Xchange.
"This new practice ... packages all the expertise we have in helping people take their medicine the way they need to and the partnerships we've built," said Loreen Babcock, president of LLKFB, which has capitalized billings of $120 million from clients such as Pfizer, Pharmacia and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
"[Adherence] is the holy grail of pharmaceutical marketing," said Matt Geigerich, president and CEO of Commonhealth, Parsippany, N.J. "It's a leaking bucket, and if we can figure out how to plug it, [there] will be better health and better revenue."
New York-based LLKFB will partner with experts in academia, government, nonprofits and behavioral psychology to craft marketing and patient educational programs.
"Long-term dialogue [and] education-type marketing is where the world is headed," said Larry Weber, CEO of IPG's Advanced Marketing Services. "Think about it: You're going to see an ad, and that's going to make you take your medication? Probably not."