A little about me… So I asked Dr Uche about writing this blog because I feel the most passionate about this topic and I thought my professional background in health policy and media provided me with a unique perspective on this issue. For the first three years of my professional career I worked in Washington, DC on health policy discrepancies between Federal, State and Tribal law for the Indian Health Service (a publically funded health system, like the NHS, which operates sometimes independently and sometimes synergistically with the US’ private health care)… Later in my career I decided to pivot into media and film production. In my pivot I’ve taken my same approach of policy analysis to my observation of media and marketing trends (particularly within UK Aesthetics). I’ve observed many hypocritical and silly practices within the industry but here is one of my biggest gripes…
Government and filler companies (by virtue of sales to said group) both deem HCPs safe.
Health Care Professionals (HCPs), Pharmacists, and Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs), Paramedics, Dental Hygienists and Radiographers are legal to practise Aesthetics and deemed safe to treat patients… The NHS has also deemed them responsible to participate in teams in the management of patient care. So, filler companies’ reluctance to train them within aesthetics, is neither a legal issue (UK law has allowed it) nor a patient safety issue (if safety were the concern then it would be incumbent on filler companies not to sell their product to the full range of HCPs) so what is the real issue here? Why do filler companies sell to this population of professionals but can’t be “seen” associating with them?
It’s my belief that filler companies aren’t training allied health professionals due to their strategy around their medical “brand management.” This clear discrepancy between law, safety designation and corporate practice needs to be examined further.
Are filler companies just lazy marketers?
It would appear that HCPs, ODPs and Pharmacists aren’t being trained due to issues of “medical” brand management. Some filler companies’ biggest markets are in North America. In North America there are very strict laws around who can inject filler. As a result, the brand of “medical” is typically exclusive to nurses and doctors. This brand of exclusivity translates poorly to a jurisdiction like the UK, where the wider HCP community belong to governing bodies and are welcomed customers of these same brands. Is it that these filler companies are just too lazy to expand their brand to include the added medical professionals they sell to in the UK? Is it easier to just send the same 12 Big Cats doctors to represent their “medical” brand throughout the world? What are the implications of tailoring the brand message that “HCPs and ODPs are safe and reliable” to match the legal framework of the UK?
Does the medical professional hierarchy play a role?
Is there a further issue of medical professional hierarchy within the aesthetics community? The big filler companies appear to be using a “top down” marketing strategy from doctors to everyone else; conforming with traditional systems of professional hierarchy. While the private sector should be shielded from this type of Food Chain communication strategy, the KOL selections and exclusion of HCPs from training seem to reinforce the old workplace ideas and dynamics.
What filler companies need to do…
Filler brand’s reluctance to train some of the wider HCP community might be due to the incongruence with their global marketing strategy and or due to an apathy to address pre-existing medical professional dynamics. But until these companies are in a position to tailor their brand messaging to the realities of the UK market (which multinational companies do literally all of the time), they will continue to ostracise, demean and belittle a massive contingent of the hard working ODPs, Pharmacists and other HCP injectors holding professional pins and shelling out tons of money to purchase filler product.
Filler companies must ask themselves important questions about their duplicitous behaviour and principles: are they selling products to professionals they deem “safe” but not brand-congruent? Thus shunning a massive cohort of their loyal qualified customers? Or are they selling products to practitioners they don’t deem “safe”? but are so morally bankrupt that the sales are a worthwhile risk? Either way, the mismatch between filler companies’ medic-first brand and their behaviour should be discussed openly by those who are affected.
What HCPs, ODPs, Pharmacists, Paramedics, Radiographers & Dental Hygienists can/should do…
The wider HCP community can take a stand. As the customers of these filler companies you have the right to only buy from companies that will openly associate and train you. To be the medical brand-pariahs in a country where you are legal and safe to practise seems a bit strange. You can put pressure on filler companies to make a decision – either we’re good enough to train and purchase OR our money is no good at all. Only support the filler companies that are truly “practitioner first.”
This is just one of the many topics we hope to get “out in the open” instead of this ‘no-snitch’ culture which only stands to benefit big filler companies and Big Cats who are the self-proclaimed “1%” of industry. We will continue to address bad practices in the industry in hopes to get a more fair and equitable playing field for all those involved.
Article by Producer Hils (formerly Policy Hils)
PS. you can sign up to our “If You Sell To HCPs, Train HCPs” Facebook petition group here