As a strategy to offset declining revenues, companies are testing a variety of initiatives focused on creating value added services (VAS) for drugs and medical devices. Disease management programs have been tried before by product manufacturers with limited success. This new wave differs from prior experiments in that it leverages emerging mobile/handheld technologies and the Internet to connect with patients, caregivers, and physicians through multiple channels.

The initiatives currently being tested can be grouped into two broad categories, in some cases being pursued in parallel within the same company. First, are those programs seeking to promote adherence and thus increase sales of existing products. Examples abound for chronic disease management, including diabetes and COPD. Research shows that the revenue opportunity left on the table due to poor adherence in certain chronic diseases surpasses the sales of drugs for some major cancers! If they can get patients to take drugs as prescribed, the potential incremental revenue would mitigate a long list of other problems squeezing the balance sheet.

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