Health Research Institute

Customer experience in the pharmaceutical sector: Getting closer to the patient

As patients exert greater control over their healthcare, drug makers need to master the complexities of consumer behavior. Consumers are willing to offer feedback that informs who they are, how they behave and how existing biases impact their behavior. Drug makers that tap into this feedback will reach a new level of success.

Cost and side effects dominate consumers’ top frustrations regarding their treatment experience

Executive summary:

Consumers have a habit of reshaping industries at inconvenient and unexpected times. Their expectations and demands initially appear irrational, faddish or impossible. But over time, a dance takes shape from a series of uncoordinated movements. Today, the retail, banking and travel industries make their moves based on a real-time understanding of consumer behavior. Fast feedback and a focus on the customer becomes the lifeblood of the company.

Just as change is sweeping across the rest of the healthcare landscape, the pharmaceutical sector is shifting as well. Drug makers today must increasingly prove that the “value” of their products goes beyond established measures of safety and efficacy. To do that, they need help from patients— the individuals best positioned to provide real-time insights into how a product works.

The rise of high-deductible insurance plans places more financial burden on individuals and families. As they increasingly spend their own money, consumers are no longer passive players in treatment selection and usage. They’re customers with unique priorities, expectations, and demands.

PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) discovered four defining elements of next generation patient:

  • Appetite for personalized information and real-time feedback
  • Active participation in care and treatment
  • Focus on convenience and on-demand services for busy lives
  • Value-hunting through comparison shopping

The research for this report included 24 in-depth interviews with executives in the healthcare industry. PwC also conducted an Experience Radar online survey of more than 700 US consumers in spring 2013. These consumers were 57% female, at least 18 years old, insured, and they had filled at least one prescription or purchased an over-the-counter pharmaceutical within the past two years. Eighty percent of respondents reported having one or more health conditions.

Published 11/2013

Karla Anderson
Tel: +1 (703) 918 4522
Benjamin Isgur
Health Research Institute Leader
Tel: +1 (214) 754 5091