As hurricane Sandy meets a turning gulf stream and a nor’easter winter storm to unleash havoc on the Mid-Atlantic region, so too is the pharmaceutical industry entering an era of the perfect storm. Recent trends and events have set the industry up for major shifts and changes.
The current blustery economic recession created, not a drop in pressure, but a drop in industry growth. In prior years, a billion dollar industry expanding its growth at about 10% per year did not need to worry about small niche markets or tiny fifty-million dollar areas of market growth. With pharmaceutical companies fighting for market share and growth, times have dramatically changed.
Concurrently sweeping across the country is a jet stream of demographic change. The 2010 census results reported for the first time the US had more minority or mixed-race newborns than non-Hispanic whites. Surely, this tipping point will effect the US population for decades to come.
Additionally, the winter storm (with its chilly reception by some) of the Patient Affordable Care Act of 2010 increases the number of insured in the US to 33 million in 2014, forty-three percent of which will be from multicultural population segments.
Unlike the path of destruction Sandy is currently cutting across the Eastern Seaboard, this perfect storm creates a tremendous opportunity for pharmaceutical companies. A whole new influx of consumers will suddenly be up for grabs and getting their attention will be necessary for a company’s survival. Roughly 14 million non-English speaking patients will require information on navigating new terrain created by the Affordable Care Act.
Multicultural marketing budgets, often considered optional and usually the first budget cut in recessions, will be a necessary lifeline as multicultural consumers’ loyalty will go to those who made the effort to reach them. Educating multicultural populations on how to use the whirlwind of state specific online Health Benefits Exchanges for buying insurance under the Act will give companies the lead in market share and help them weather the new environment in which the pharmaceutical industry now operates.