Pharmaceutical Executive Europe - October 2007 - (Page 15)

INTERNATIONAL HEALTHCARE MARKETING Co-ordinate Your Communications Having a clear international publication strategy is vital to communicate your key message to your target audience, explains Elizabeth Wager. C ommunication lies at the heart of marketing. Unco-ordinated publications will, at best, waste opportunities and reduce the impact of your communications but, at worst, may damage your company’s reputation. Publications in peer-reviewed journals need to be particularly carefully planned. Journal editors are increasingly alert to redundant (that is, overlapping or repetitive) publications, so data that supports your message should be regarded as a precious resource and published to maximise long-term impact. This will require co-ordination between medical and marketing departments, who need to understand each other’s goals. Ideally, the outline publication strategy for a major study should be drawn up with the protocol, so that everybody’s expectations are managed and a mutually acceptable plan is agreed. Disagreements about authorship, choice of journal or the emphasis of papers can cause serious delays to publications but can usually be avoided by careful planning and communication. Planning publications around a product launch needs a good understanding of achievable timetables and open discussion about all stakeholders’ expectations. Tension may arise between academics who want to publish in a prestigious journal and local marketeers who want a publication as soon as possible. Many high impact journals take several months to decide whether to accept or reject a paper and then several more between acceptance and publication. Sadly, the journals that offer very rapid publication are generally less prestigious. Identifying respectable journals with reasonable publication timescales is the key to resolving this dilemma. Getting the publication planned, as far as possible, while the study is still underway, and setting up an effective writing group, can also cut months off your timetable and increase your chance of hitting important deadlines. Authorship Authorship can cause problems and should be agreed, in principle, as early as possible during the study. Systems for allocating authorship should be communicated to all stakeholders. Once again, this will require liaison between medical and marketing departments. Many journals expect authors to meet the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors’ (ICMJE) criteria, and editors are increasingly demanding information about individuals’ contributions to studies and publications in an attempt to prevent ghost and gift authorship. Authorship plans for multicentre studies need to be communicated carefully. It is not always possible to have all the key local opinion leaders listed on every publication, so alternative strategies, such as involving local investigators in presenting at conferences, or in developing local publications, should be considered. Once again, a badly planned or communicated publication strategy risks not just delaying key publications or minimizing their impact but also alienating opinion leaders. Co-ordination The co-ordination of primary and secondary publications is very important. The general rule is that each study will have one full, primary publication (nearly always a traditional journal paper that presents the main results). This must appear before any secondary publications (such as results from individual countries or centres, secondary analyses or reports of secondary outcomes). Problems arise when the primary publication is targeted to a journal with slow publication times (or even worse, gets rejected by the first target journal and has to be submitted to a different journal, causing further delay). If secondary papers have been submitted to local or less prestigious journals with higher acceptance rates and faster turnaround times, this can result in secondary papers appearing before the primary one. This is a dangerous situation since major journals are likely to refuse to publish the primary paper if they discover that parts of the findings have already been published elsewhere. There is also a danger of causing confusion or diluting your key message if sub-sets and secondary analyses appear before the main findings, since the secondary results often do not have the same statistical power or overall impact as the primary outcome. Local publications should also be considered. These can maximise the impact of your communications and tailor messages for different markets but, once again, careful co-ordination is needed. Findings from individual centres or countries should never be published ahead of the main findings, as explained above, and journal copyright laws and publication conventions need to be respected. Translations are acceptable with the permission of the original journal, but they must reference the original article and should not contain any additional findings or new text. Most journals require authors to state that findings have not been published before, so interpretations 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pharmaceutical Executive Europe - October 2007

The Brand Exchange
Focused and Flexible
Making A Global Vision Work
Leading the Way
The OnlineConsumer
Wired to the Future
Co-ordinate Your Communications
In the Public Interest
Seek First to Understand

Pharmaceutical Executive Europe - October 2007