Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's a matter of choice

No matter what way you slice it , consumers want choice. It doesn't matter if the products are cell phones, automobiles, gas, electronics, internet, TV, radio , food , and I think you get the picture. So too do industries want choice. For example and I'll build on my earlier post. Retailers want choices. They want to decide which products they carry and which they don't. The manufacturer can create awareness of a product prompting the end consumer to ask for specific products, but it is the retailer that decides if they will indeed carry the product.
The end consumer can decide to shop at a store which carries a particular brand or they can choose to go elsewhere. That is the power of choice.

Now what if your choice was restricted in some way? Here is a far fetched example of this . Let's say a Municipality creates a bylaw that restricts your choice of automobile to only North American company manufacturers. What would be your reaction be to this? I believe the outcry would be huge. That was a far fetched example but let's look at a more realistic model of restriction in choice. What if you were restricted on choice of prescription pharmaceutical? This is a very interesting case , as you probably know that this , does exist. The crisis in healthcare spending being the key reason . The issue with such restrictions are varied as the impact on choice is felt in several silos in Health care. The obvious one is the end consumer's choice is restricted, but lets examine the implications of this further.
If we start with the Physician as writing a prescription , most often they have been detailed on newer products and will write a brand product. (Only Brand Name Pharmaceutical companies call on Physicians) The prescription goes off to pharmacy where the formulary is enforced. So, if a product is not covered the pharmacist and patient have to go through a number of issues ,which can include ,the patient footing the bill, a call back to the physician, increased paperwork for the physician, perhaps even another visit to the physician. In essence the restriction has added cost to the health care field . So who in this scenario feels the most restricted. I suggest it is the physician and the Patient. They want choice.

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