Columbus, OH. Much like the Millennial generation, the Latino demographic is getting attention for its exponential growth. (Latinos currently make up 17% of the total population, and is expected to increase to almost 30% by 2050. – Pew) In a recent Forbes article, Nicole Fisher highlights 5 Reasons that Latinos Could Be The Most Powerful Transformation Of The U.S. Health System.

However, in the past four years Pharma has responded conservatively to this shifting demographic. According to a new report from AHAA: the Voice of Hispanic Marketing, “pharmaceutical marketers increased their aggregate Hispanic advertising investment by only 4 percent between 2010 and 2014 to $165 million. Among the top 500 U.S. advertisers, the pharmaceutical category allocation to Hispanic dedicated media remained basically unchanged at 2.5 percent, which is significantly less than the national average of 8.5 percent.In fact, this category remains at a “laggard” allocation level, defined as companies who assign 1 to 3.5 percent of their marketing budget to Hispanic dedicated efforts.”

Pharma is not alone. According to Fisher, it’s health care leaders across the board. “While politicians have been clamoring after this demographic, health care leaders have greatly failed to see their potential for influencing the future.”Regardless of the industry’s slowness to act, Fisher’s article brought several considerations to light when looking through the pharma marketing lens:

Access to care and medications. 1 in 5 uninsured people in the US is Latino. According to Fisher, although this ratio has improved in the past 5 years, the actual numbers may be skewed because unauthorized immigrants are not eligible for Medicaid or insurance.

 Types of products and services. Due to larger families and lower incomes, prevention and management of chronic conditions and maternal and child health services will be in higher demand for Latinos. In addition “Lack of access to and utilization of the health system – combined with poorer environmental and nutritional options – leaves Latinos at a particularly high risk of developing disease comorbidities. Therefore, the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other issues related to poor health will be increasingly more important.”

 Greater need for education and support. “With estimates suggesting that one in three Latinos have had no previous access to health services, insurance cards will not equate to utilization rates like other demographic groups.”

Harder to reach. “Even the Administration has had a difficult time engaging Latinos, despite its best efforts. As of 2015, 25% of Latinos reported they had heard “nothing at all” about insurance exchanges. In that same poll, another 28% indicated that they had heard “not that much” about exchanges, clearly highlighting disconnect between outreach and engagement.”

More social, more mobile.  According to a 2014 PricewaterhouseCoopers report, “More Hispanics than non-Hispanics use social media, mobile apps and Internet searches to find information about doctors and insurance companies, and Hispanics are more likely to be influenced by the information when making decisions about care and insurance plans.”

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for shaping the company’s perspective on the next era of healthcare marketing. Through thought leadership, strategic innovation workshops and new products and capabilities, Leigh focuses on identifying marketing approaches that will fuel that new era and generate significant growth for clients. Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for over 17 years. She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she had several leadership roles at one of our agencies, GSW. There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business. Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes. A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice, Leigh also was recognized as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.