Sunil Ramkali: “When working with life science clients, it is important to have in-depth knowledge of the different sectors within life science and under how the landscape competitive is changing”.
In Comvort, we often receive requests from clients looking for specialized agencies with the right expertise in their sector. Accounts within the Pharma, Medical & Life sciences industry can be tricky and turn out to be more than a challenge if your agency does not have the right know-how. From Comvort we’d like to shed some light into this type client and sector from a Marketing perspective and who else better than a chat with Sunil Ramkali, Partner & Account Director, Life Science, at W Communication Agency, Comvort’s associated member in Malmö –Sweden-.
Sunil Ramkali, has worked in Life Science for nearly 30 years from local sales and marketing in the UK, Germany and Italy, Sales training/coaching & hospital contract negotiations in the UK, global marketing based in Denmark and Sweden, and Global Market Access, Pricing & Reimbursement. He often gives lectures at Lund University on innovation and commercial considerations in life science communications and has written a number of publications/articles on brand communications in the field.
Comvort: As an expert and responsible for the division ‘Life Science’ at ‘W Communication Agency’, how would you describe this client profile?
At W we define a Life Science client, as a company that manufactures a product(s) that influences the health of humans or animals. At present, our client base includes manufacturers within the pharmaceuticals, medical technology and vaccines industry sectors. Another sector within life science that we have yet to exploit is the veterinary area, however it is an area that is highly attractive and hugely competitive.
Today, our life science clients include a mix of both Global and Nordic clients – Grunenthal (Parkinson’s disease / pain therapy), Airsonett (asthma device), PaxVax (typhoid vaccine), Norgine (bowel cleansing / liver sclerosis) and Trialbee (clinical trial recruiter). We are also in discussions with a medical device company, who are global market leader in their own field and are looking for a new global communication partner to launch new products in the future.
C: What makes it so fascinating to deal with this industry?
The life science sector is continually involving and requires specialist knowledge of the different stakeholders from regulators to payers / budget holder to healthcare professionals to patients / consumers. With increased focus on cost containment, value demonstration and differentiation vs. the competitor(s) is more important than ever. That’s where we come in 🙂
C: What are the main demands they expect their agency to solve (any general issues from a Mktg point of view)?
This varies depends on the opportunity – it could be developing a product launch strategy or simply updating an advertisement. So our life science clients expect and choose W because of our in-depth understanding of the life science market, and the specialist knowledge of their customers and the rules for promoting prescription only medicines, within the local compliance and medical regulations.
C: What are the main obstacles or difficulties to overcome when handling Pharma/Life Science clients in your country?
As there are many internal stakeholders involved in reviewing and approving life science communications and deliverables – marketing, sales, compliance, legal and medical. It can often take much longer for projects to be approved due to all the legalisation around the promotional of prescription only medicines, i.e. all messaging must be referred to peer review publications, communications must be fair & balanced, local rules on product promotional to healthcare professionals and patients must be obeyed, product claims must be within the approved product indication, etc…
C: What are the intricacies your agency would be facing for this industry in Sweden; (perhaps it works in the same way everywhere?).
Our focus in international B2B communications but like all markets, in Sweden the focus is also on cost containment, value demonstration and differentiation vs. the competitor(s).
C: Any recommendations you would like to share with the rest of the Comvort members/partners associated and our audience in the MarCom sector?
When working with life science clients, it is important to have in-depth knowledge of the different sectors within life science and under how the competitive landscape is continually is changing. Clients choose W because we have this knowledge and have account personnel that have worked with medical devices and pharmaceuticals, and with regulators, payers and healthcare professionals.
Comvort: Thank you so much Sunil for your time and give us this helpful professional insight about the industry.
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Sunil Ramkali Comvort interview