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Industry Education
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Czech Republic
Agency Bison & Rose
Released August 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Healthcare and Services
Advertiser: APOTEX CR S.R.O.
Junior Consultant: Ivan Tucnik (Bison & Rose)
Senior Consultant: Martina Parizkova (Bison & Rose)
Graphic Designer: Andrea Braunova (Bison & Rose)
PR & Communication Manager: Ladislav Pavlik (Apotex CR)
PACE Educational Programme Manager: Vilma Vranova (Apotex CR)
Media placement: Press Releases - MF DNES, Pravo, E15, Brnensky Denik, Lidove Noviny, Metro, Idnes.cz, Etc. - 6. May 2010
Media placement: Exclusive Content - MF DNES, Lidove Noviny - 6. May 2010
Media placement: Press Briefings - MF DNES, Pravo, E15, Brnensky Denik, Lidové Noviny, Metro, Idnes.cz, Etc. - 6. May 2010
Media placement: Direct Media Involvement - MF DNES, Lidove Noviny - 6. May 2010
Media placement: Direct Media Involvement - MF DNES, Lidove Noviny, CRo1 - Radiozurnal - 6. May 2010

Summary of the Campaign
Communication with the patient is one of the greatest weaknesses of Czech pharmacists. Moreover, up to 90 per cent of Czech pharmaceutical students are of the opinion that university education in this area does not sufficiently prepare them for communication with the patient in a pharmacy.

The Pharmacy Communication Championship could serve to fill this gap in Czech pharmacists’ edification. This educational programme for Czech pharmaceutical students contributes to the improvement of communication skills of future pharmacists, thereby also improving the general level of care for the patient in pharmacies.

The project is built on two pillars – a series of interactive seminars, "Effective communication in the pharmacy", and the subsequent two-round Pharmacy Communication Championship competition. The project took place for the first time in 2009. Owing to the great interest, the second edition was extended to include Slovakia too, in 2010. In response to the project, all pharmaceutical faculties in the Czech Republic and Slovakia launched interactive training in pharmacists’ communication with patients. The programme was financed by the company Apotex within the PACE educational platform.

The Situation
Education of future pharmacists in the Czech Republic is still extremely theoretical, without sufficiently developing skills that can be used in practice. In the area of communication in particular, up to 90 per cent of students think that after completing their studies they are not sufficiently prepared for their work in a pharmacy. Apotex has placed great emphasis on maintaining close relationships with pharmacists over the long term.

The Goal
The main goal was to improve the communication skills of future pharmacists. The project also aimed to draw attention to communication within the pharmacist-patient relationship. Moreover, the project was to refer to the current state of education in the area of pharmaceuticals and introduce interactive training in communication with the patient as part of the tuition.

The Pharmacy Communication Championship project affords the potential for successful addressing of the target group of pharmacy students with the aim to satisfy their educational needs pertaining to communication and thereby also strengthen the positive perception of the company APOTEX among students.

The Strategy
The tactics were built on two pillars – educational seminars and a follow-up two-round competition with direct media involvement in the whole process.
The seminars’ objective was to fill the gap in education of future pharmacists and offer the students development of their practical skills in the areas that are crucial for their future job.

The two-round international competition increased the students’ motivation to develop their skills. The project was consulted with the students’ representatives so that it would comply with their requirements and from the very beginning student unions at all faculties were also involved in the process.

The project was built on two unique research projects. A qualitative research poll revealed insufficient knowledge on the part of pharmacy employees when it comes to communication with the patient. Another poll identified five characteristic types of pharmacy customers. This served as the basis for seminars, as well as the competition.

Interactive seminars on pharmacy communication took place at all pharmaceutical faculties in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The communication campaign included posters, websites, presentations at lectures and communities on Facebook.

The best participants of each seminar advanced into the regional round of the competition, which took place in the form of simulation of real communication between a customer and a pharmacist. The professional jury evaluated the performances especially when it came to the psychological and communication aspects. Journalists were directly involved in the process too, in order to increase the project’s publicity. They could personally try out the role of patients.

Promotion of the final that followed was supported by the participation of a former Miss Czech Republic, who is herself a pharmacist. The event took place in the form of simulation of situations in a pharmacy, with the patients’ roles being enacted by several representatives of the media.

Documented Results
In response to the project, all pharmaceutical faculties in the Czech Republic and Slovakia launched interactive training in pharmacists’ communication with patients. The importance of increasing the skills of future pharmacists in the area of communication was successfully carried through in a wide scale of media outlets, including nationwide television and radio broadcasts. A total of 50 outputs appeared in the media within a single month.

The project gave rise to an open discussion about the importance of pharmacists’ communication with patients in pharmacies and the pharmacist’s general role in the health care system. At the same time, it highlighted the current state of the Czech and Slovak education systems. The project’s success has also been documented by the students’ high interest in the seminars – the interest in the seminars exceeded their capacity more than threefold.