Boomer Women Shift Pharma Point of Sale

A generation ago, when the doctor wrote a prescription, the patient went to the pharmacy and filled it. In many cases the patient was female. And when the patient was male, it was often the female in the household who went to the pharmacy to fill the prescription. Those days are over.

In the era of direct-​to-​consumer marketing, medications available for every health complaint, and information overload on the Internet, more women, especially in the Baby Boomer demographic, are taking their time to fill prescriptions.  This behavioral change is a key finding of the survey recently released by GSW Worldwide Pink Tank. In fact, according to Gretchen Goffe-​Wagner, SVP, brand planner at Pink Tank, “half of them [Boomer women] didn't go straight to the pharmacy.”

Instead, women are investigating a drug before taking it. Overall, the Boomer generation takes more drugs than any other group in recent history and they don’t hesitate to ask their doctors for information on new medications. But before they fill a prescription, Boomer women are using the other criteria to make a decision:

  • Information obtained online – websites, online patient reviews, blogs
  • Cost
  • Opinions of friends/​family

Wagner points out that drug marketers must understand that the point of sale moment does not necessarily happen in the physician’s office, especially since many physicians are too busy these days to fully explain the benefits and drawbacks of a specific medication.  She says marketers can create more brand credibility by yielding the traditional authoritative attitude they’ve long possessed and approach the topic in a dialogue that gives patients the information they want. In many cases, this means offering more data about side effects either in print or online. Allowing patients to access to other consumers' comments would also be helpful, but drug companies must be careful not to violate FDA regulations at the same time.

[Source: Arnold, Matthew. “Script in hand, Boomer women sleep on it.”  Medical Marketing & Media. 8 Jun. 2010. Web. 1 Jul. 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.