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In early June, some media reported that Merck, the world’s oldest pharmaceutical company, will soon celebrate its 350th birthday. The most wanted gift is the Chinese market! A few days ago, this veteran pharmaceutical company found a new business partner – Ali Health.

On June 20, Merck and Ali signed a health strategic cooperation signing ceremony and press conference to announce that they will cooperate in drug traceability and Internet health services, and actively explore areas such as pharmaceutical e-commerce and artificial intelligence.

What kind of collisions and integration will bring about the old Internet technology’s experience with young Internet technologies? Will it bring about subversive changes to the traditional way of marketing medicine?

Why cooperate?

At present, there are many multinational pharmaceutical companies and different e-commerce platforms for commercial cooperation. The sense of smell of foreign companies is mainly based on the “Healthy China 2030” plan. The latter is the first mid- and long-term strategic plan for health in the national level. It has established the “big health concept” and “big health concept” that promotes health as the center. “Promoting the popularization of the concept of “investing in health” in China’s economy and society.

 

“Our China vision is to improve the lives of 40 million patients in China by 2025. Digitalization is an important part of our vision for China.” Luo Jieren, Managing Director of Merck China Biopharm Business stated that “In the era of healthy China, the Internet has become An indispensable center of vitality. The fair, universal, and accessible medical and health services are the heart of patients.”

How to cooperate?

It is reported that the first step of the cooperation between the two sides will be traced back to the drug, Merck in the areas of diabetes, thyroid and cardiovascular medicines fully settled Ali’s healthy “code on the rest assured” platform.

In 2008, in order to ensure the quality of medicines in circulation, the State Food and Drug Administration wanted to monitor the entire circulation process and set a supervision code. Later, this national project was handed over to CITIC in the 21st century. Ali Health acquired this “code” by acquiring CITIC in the 21st century in 2014.

Through this cooperation, in the future, patients will purchase Merck-related drugs and use the traceability codes on mobile phone packages such as mobile phone Taobao, Alipay, and Ali Health to scan drug packages. Not only can they obtain drug test results, drug label information, disease knowledge, and experts in the results page. Doctor’s courses and other content, but also a one-button pharmacist to Ali’s health free consultation medication questions.

For pain points where chronic patients easily forget to take medication, both parties plan to: After the patient scans the code, he will use medications and even smart hardware to send medication reminders. Luo Jieren believes that cooperation between the two parties is the inevitable result of the development of the times: on the one hand, it promotes the safe use of drugs by patients, and on the other hand it can continue to create value for patients.

Ali Health, on the other hand, hopes to use Merck’s health care ecosystem and innovative technologies to provide people with fair, inclusive, and accessible medical and health services. The two parties will continue to explore the application of direct patient medical services (DTP mode) and artificial intelligence based on the medical e-commerce system.

Will it reduce the marketing team?

This year marks the 85th anniversary of Merck’s entry into the Chinese market. In 2017, Merck had total sales of 15.3 billion euros. For companies with 53,000 employees, operations in 66 countries, across medical care, life sciences and high performance materials, this performance is not very bright.

Merck’s biopharmaceutical products are involved in the fields of chronic diseases, reproduction and oncology, such as the treatment of diabetes, Gehua, thyroid dysfunction therapy, Saizhi and Youjiale. Currently, there are more than 10 million domestic patients serving all products and services.

For the cooperation between the two parties, industry insiders may ask, does this mean that the opening of another new medical marketing model will have an impact on Merck’s existing sales force?

Luo Jieren responded that Merck hopes to greatly expand the access to medical health under the boost of the Internet+ model, but at present it will not bring too much impact to the traditional sales model. Because Merck’s expertise in the field of chronic diseases, reproduction and oncology, etc., the number of pharmaceutical academic promotion and marketing teams is still far from meeting the needs of existing products.

In order to bring the original research medicine in the field of chronic diseases to more patients and expand its influence in the Chinese market, Merck Biomedical will increase its investment in the academic promotion and marketing team of pharmaceuticals.

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