Exclusive AusDoc survey. What you will learn from reading this article:
- Understand current levels of medicinal cannabis brand awareness amongst doctors
- The key drivers for doctors choosing to prescribe one brand over another
Doctors have little knowledge of medicinal cannabis brands, according to the results of an AusDoc survey involving more than 240 GPs and specialists across Australia.
In a finding that leaves space wide open for marketers to build their brand equity, 77% of survey respondents could not recall the name of a single product. This was more pronounced for specialists (90%) than for GPs (72%).
Even when promoted with a list of 14 leading brands, almost half (47%) of doctors could still not recognise any brand of medicinal cannabis. Overall, only four brands were somewhat recognised, with Cannatrek being most familiar.
The lack of existing brand awareness creates an opportunity for marketers to promote their brands, build confidence and win trust.
When given an opportunity to share their thoughts in free text as to how they decide which brand of medicinal cannabis to prescribe, many doctors reported that brand awareness and product knowledge were key drivers in deciding what brand of medicinal cannabis to prescribe.
Not surprisingly, the ability to source a product locally was another key driver. Other considerations were:
- Formulation type;
- Price; and
- Patient preference or reluctance to change based on prior experience.
This is a selection of insights shared by doctors when asked how they decide which medicinal cannabis brand to prescribe:
Doctor 1: “… brands that I am familiar with, have good GP support, are not too expensive and are available.”
Doctor 2: “… based on familiarity with brand and the type of formulation that is needed.”
Doctor 3: “… prescribe what I know from attending education sessions at conferences.”
Doctor 4: “… based on THC, CBD, terpene profile matched against formulation options tailored specifically to each patient’s circumstances.”
While the TGA regulates the access, most medicinal cannabis products are considered to be unapproved medicines, meaning that they have not been assessed by the TGA for safety, quality, or effectiveness.
This creates a challenge for the industry and for many of its brands as unsurprisingly the vast majority of doctors believing it is important that a brand has been approved by the TGA before they consider prescribing it.
However, with doctors hungry to find out more, creating brand awareness through evidence-based education led content offers an appealing way to commence any campaign.
The results of the AusDoc survey are a reminder that the medicinal cannabis brands that win doctors’ trust now stand to gain long-term advantage. With no brand able to claim a compelling advantage at present, the market is ripe and ready for awareness campaigns, compelling patient stories, trustworthy messaging and evidence-based education.
- AusDoc Survey: Understanding Doctor insights and behaviours in the use of Medicinal Cannabis (May 2023), n = 241 (all MEDs)