10 Sep 2018

As a brand transitions from prescription to OTC, drug manufacturers compete for market share by instinctively shifting focus to the end consumer. That said, existing research confirms that doctors influence patient behavior on either side of the counter. And over the years, we’ve seen physician outreach stimulate considerable brand awareness for OTCs.

The potential for healthcare providers to extend their credibility and impact non-prescription drug revenue is explained:

  1. Patients buying OTCs with a recommendation purchase more per year than patients who purchase OTCs without a recommendation.1 In other words, customers return to a brand more quickly—and with greater frequency—when it has been endorsed by their doctor.
  2. OTCs are generally more accessible and affordable than prescription medicine. When a similar product is available OTC, doctors can help patients save time and money.
  3. No doctor wants to leave a sick patient empty-handed, which is probably why samples and coupons encourage doctors to make an OTC recommendation.2 Our advertising clients regularly use creative that directs HCPs to a landing page to print coupons or request free product samples.
  4. “What better way to gain consumer trust for an unknown brand than through a trusted doctor, nurse, or pharmacist? Trust sells product.”2 Plus, promoting a doctor-recommended brand is a proven and effective strategy.
  5. Doctors may recommend an OTC product in addition to writing a prescription. Think: does your brand treat a symptom that patients commonly cite at the doctor’s office?

It’s easy to see that doctors significantly influence OTC brand awareness and customer loyalty. If physician outreach isn’t currently included in your media plan, you may be neglecting an effective marketing channel. Bottom line: when doctors make a recommendation, patients listen.

1. Ipsos-Insight, Doctors Play Key Role in Sales of Non-Prescription Drugs, https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/doctors-play-key-role-sales-non-prescription-drugs (accessed September 5, 2018).
2. Underscore Marketing, The Makegood: Can OTC Marketers Take a Page From Rx Playbook?, http://www.the-makegood.com/2015/03/19/the-impact-of-otc-and-cpg-marketers-on-healthcare-audience/ (accessed September 5, 2018).