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The Scoop – Feature on Insomnia Market | 12 Ways Pharma Can Get Back on Top | War for Your Wrist December 9, 2013

The New Yorker has run an extensive feature on what it’s like to design and market an insomnia drug, profiling a group of Merck scientists about to present to FDA. The story goes through the good, bad and ugly, everything from clinical trials to packaging to marketing and back again. I’m dubbing it this week’s must-read.

Pharma doesn’t have the best public image, and much of this is because of continued head butting with FDA – so we should make nice, says Biotech Editor Luke Timmerman, who has come up with a list of 12 ways pharma can get back on top. Spoiler alert: he suggests that we stop DTC advertising, among other pretty radical ideas.

The biggest tech companies and coolest startups in the world are in a war for your wrist, creating smart watches that you have to have. But consumers aren’t going crazy over them. My take: when I was doing PR for Verizon Wireless a few years ago, we were pushing hard on a new feature called “text messaging,” and no one was buying it – we were afraid it would never catch on no matter what we did. I feel old. Anyway. Another entrant to the fray is the smart ring, a concept item that would keep you connected to your smartphone. How about a feature that buzzes when your spouse takes theirs off?

As discussion continues around gene sequencing and 23andMe, Wall Street Journal interviews a professor of bioethics to understand what people should consider before getting their genes sequenced – although unfortunately he doesn’t go into why he feels this issue is so contentious.

Marketers will find this interesting and unsurprising – the many tricks that supermarkets use to increase sales use all the senses and include keeping things at eye level, offering tantalizing smells, and making it hard to actually leave.

And on to the silly: Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine students have created a video explaining (in song) what the spleen does, and it’s going viral.

-Carly Kuper, VP, Strategic Marketing & Corporate Communications
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