OTCs in Action Episode 14: OTC Transformers


Two innovators featured in Medical Marketing & Media’s Top 40 Healthcare Transformers are shifting the shape of OTC.

Roche’s Michael Coffey, Consumer experience team lead, is changing the way diabetics feel about treatment of their condition. Roche’s Accu-Chek test kits are OTCs in Action to change the blood glucose testing experience by rewarding diabetics with pleasant surprises, such as aroma candles or popcorn, with their monthly supplies.

“The challenge is understanding where our ability to walk alongside the customer truly is and to break out of the commoditised world we live in,” he says. Along those lines, Coffey believes that it’s important to look beyond healthcare to delight consumers; he finds inspiration in the world of discovery retail (wine clubs, Birchbox beauty products).

“Can we get them excited about testing? Can we get them to share it socially?” he asks. “If we can make that happen, it would open up the door for them to talk about diabetes as part of their lifestyle in a positive way. We approach them as people, not patients.” (MM&M, January 1, 2015)

Gary Kay, President and Co-founder of Cognitive Research Corp, has developed technology that can evaluate whether consumers taking OTCs should be in action – on the road, that is. CRC’s simulation programme evaluates a drug’s effect on driving.

“It is critically important that prescribers and consumers recognise that drugs, even OTC drugs, can impair their ability to drive, whether or not they feel drowsy,” Kay says.

Sometimes the interactions are unexpected. The company recently asked test subjects to drink two glasses of wine a day after they took a standard dose of an OTC cold medication. “While that’s a legal amount of alcohol, we found they were really impaired,” Kay reports. Of course, social pressures have sparked change, too. “It took us a long time to become aware of the risks of alcohol and driving, and now we are realising the effects of medications on driving safety. Consumers are demanding that these studies be conducted.”

To read the full MM&M article:

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