The first wave of the 76 million babies born between 1946 and 1965—the Baby Boomers—recently reached retirement age, ushering in a demographic shift that foretells big changes in pharma. In waves spread out over the next couple of decades, Baby Boomers will shift from private insurance to government insurance, for one thing. And, unlike retiring generations before them, this group disses the idea of “growing old gracefully.”
Instead, Boomers expect the best. They want to live longer and enjoy better health while doing so, even with one or more chronic conditions. Couple this change with the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which will bring 30 million new patients into the fold, and you come out with enormous challenges for pharma.
In this issue, industry experts and insiders note numerous ways of meeting these challenges. Our feature story, The Aging Boomer Generation’s Implications for Pharma, pg. 28, offers the thoughts of three industry professionals who recommend learning to better understand the needs of this demographic to address issues in several key areas, including patient treatment, digital strategies, and patient access. The same keys, it turns out, can be used to unlock the ACA challenge.
And like the pharma landscape, the tools needed to meet these challenges are also in flux. Innovative tools include new understandings of what makes people buy the things they do (see Disruptive Information: Understanding Non-Conscious Decision-Making, pg. 42) and a renewed emphasis on customer service (see Did Someone Say Customer Orientation?, pg. 36). Another tool pharma will need to pick up: the ability to work with government regulators and regulations (see Integrating Legislative Strategy into Brand Strategy, pg. 33).
However, one tool pharma will always need to find new ways to sharpen is in improving adherence. Steven R. Feldman, MD, PhD, one of our resident physician writers, continues his series in our Physician POV section (pg. 12) on how to do just that. You can also hear Dr. Feldman speak on the subject at two upcoming conferences in Philadelphia: The 3rd Annual Patient Adherence and Advocacy Summit (Feb. 25-23) and The World Congress Summit to Improve Adherence and Enhance Patient Engagement (Mar. 14-15).
With these and other tools that will emerge as time progresses, pharma can effectively meet the challenges coming its way. And big challenges will reveal their true nature—as big opportunities.