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The pharmaceutical industry’s fundamental focus has remained the same in all the generations and iterations it has existed: to find medicines that improve and save lives.

Just about all of the other trappings of the industry, however, have changed enormously.

As our industry has grown and evolved, so too have the ways in which our industry reaches the healthcare professionals and patients.

From the days of healers, apothecaries, and patent-medicine peddlers, to the creation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1938, to the Kefauver-Harris Drug Amendments in 1962, companies that create medications have been given increasing regulations to ensure that products are safe, effective, explain what they do, and do what they claim.

While a couple of advertisements promoted prescription drugs to patients throughout the mid-20th century, the true advent of DTC promotion in the US began in 1997. And as information became digitized and increasingly connected, pharma marketing changed in two ways at the end of the 20th century. Patients became researchers, empowered to learn about their symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment options. And marketers were able to record, quantify, and analyze information about their engagement with patients and healthcare professionals more than they had ever dreamed. Information about prescribing behavior, interactions with sales reps, treatment compliance, media consumption – it’s all instantly available for insights that shape marketing strategies.

A generation ago, the height of customer relationship management technology was a Bakelite dial telephone sitting on a desk next to a plastic Rolodex wheel stuffed with paper business cards and handwritten notes. Today, marketing technology solutions collect and analyze, suggest and recommend, adjust and nuance, in real-time, across the globe.

The evolution of the technology is profound. Modern marketing is complex and capable of more than our predecessors could imagine. But at heart, just as the goals of healthcare remain the same, so, too, do our goals remain the same: to help the people who prescribe our medicines and those to whom they are prescribed.

Harnessing that complex technology to help your products reach those who need them: that’s your job. Helping you do it: that’s ours. Don’t lose out on the potential before you.