In a time where the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders in healthcare have changed considerably, pharmaceutical companies face different challenges and opportunities compared to ten years ago. It is no longer sufficient to provide individual stakeholders with information through direct dialogue and indirect communication: stakeholders now interact with and influence each other to a large extent, resulting in new processes of decision-making based on new combinations of arguments. In many countries, like Sweden, decision-making is even more difficult to understand and predict due to the different levels of decision-making: local, regional, and/or national.

Stakeholders have also changed their attitude towards and expectations on pharmaceutical companies, resulting in varying interest to communicate and cooperate with “the industry”. As a consequence of these changes, Stakeholder Management has become a critical competence for success.

Pharmaceutical companies need to:

  1. Know their stakeholders and their main contact persons
  2. Understand their stakeholders: their roles, their responsibilities and their interaction within and between stakeholder groups
  3. Manage their stakeholders: prioritize contact persons, develop long-term relationships, follow changes
  4. Influence their stakeholders where necessary and relevant, making sure stakeholders have up-to-date information and are not limited by false information or incorrect assumptions.

Successful stakeholder management offers pharmaceutical companies the opportunity to take the lead and develop strong, long-lasting relationships with relevant stakeholders based on mutual interest and mutual respect. It enables companies to provide input in discussions and decision-making as well as to better predict on-going and planned changes in healthcare systems.

Successful stakeholder management not only requires certain competence and skill sets but may also involve organizational changes. Opticom has helped many pharmaceutical companies to optimize their Stakeholder Management by means of one or more of the following services:

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The Consumer Lab® is a platform that combines market research and constructive interaction with consumers in the direct or close environment of the retail product in question. In discussing a range of issues with both existing and potential customers directly on site in stores, the overall aim is to enhance the true knowledge about consumer opinions, experiences and behaviour, as well as the needs and trends within different product segments. Continue reading

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The focus group method is a qualitative market research method and is excellent when you do not only want to know what people think but rather why they think the way they do. Since you talk to fewer people in qualitative research than in quantitative, and since you have exploratory discussions rather than everybody being asked the same questions, qualitative surveys do not provide too many numbers but rather provide a greater understanding of needs, desires, feelings and ideas, which is valuable in many contexts. Continue reading

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