;   Medical Translation Insight: Using scare tactics to push western drugs in emerging markets - ForeignExchange Translations

Using scare tactics to push western drugs in emerging marketsAs we noted the other day, big pharma is excited over and looking for revenue streams from developing markets. One reason for this interest: Marketing restrictions are less onerous than in the U.S. or Europe.

What does "less onerous" mean, you might wonder?

Reuters recently highlighted one example:

If you sleep less than six hours a night, you're increasing your risk of developing or dying from heart disease by 48 percent. At least, that's what U.S.-based pharmaceutical giant Abbott would have 1.2 billion people in India believe.
The article goes on to quote experts who note that ads are "implying that taking sleeping pills may help you live longer, whereas the data shows that taking sleeping pills is associated with increased mortality" and comparing drug marketing in emerging markets to the "Wild West".

We have written before how India has become a big attraction and huge market for pharmaceutical companies - what with soaring incomes, expanding insurance coverage, and more chronic disease. Promoting traditional Western medicines used for traditional Western maladies is one way to tap into these markets' potentials.

There are plenty of critics, of course. The Reuters article was widely covered and prompted many writers to voice their own (critical) opinion. Here is one example:
"It's their usual strategy, create anxiety about a disease people didn't know they have, so drug companies can sell them a pharmaceutical solution. Look out citizens of the developing world, big pharma has its marketing machine focused on you."
But with Abbott boasting that it will become the No. 1 Pharmaceutical Company in India, it's likely that Abbott and other pharmaceutical companies will increase their marketing efforts further.

[Hat tip to Pharmalot]

ForeignExchange translates clinical research for medical device and pharmaceutical companies into Indian languages - as well as dozens of other languages. Ask us for a detailed proposal on your next translation project.

1 Comment:

  1. Mary Shillue said...
    Interesting! A concern some clients have shared with me is that translations of patient facing literature will run afoul of regulatory guidelines. If tone and register are not maintained – a neutral statement in a source document could be read as excessive marketing, improperly implying a benefit, etc. in the translated version. For this reason, experience translating these types of materials and understanding the importance of word choice is critical.

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