Research Paper on Public Management in an International Context: Marketing Services in Healthcare and Policing
Nowadays, it is possible to observe a trend to increasing marketing services in such services as healthcare and policing in the US. Traditionally, the US healthcare and policing were public services that were under a severe public and state control. At the same time, the recent trends have revealed the fact that traditionally marketing services have started to be amply used in these very sensitive fields. It should be pointed out that such ‘marketization’ of policing and healthcare provoked numerous debates concerning the consequences of the wide implementation of marketing services in healthcare and policing. On the one hand, it is argued that it is quite beneficial for both the service providers and recipients, i.e. ordinary people, while, on the other hand, there is a belief that such commercialization of public services is totally unacceptable since it can deteriorate or even undermine the basic principles of work of healthcare and policing system as well as it can negatively influence their public image. Anyway, in order to definitely state whether the tensions around marketing services in healthcare and policing are justified or not, it is necessary to analyze both positions, even though they are absolutely contradicting to each other.
“Marketization” of healthcare and policing
At the beginning, it is necessary to briefly dwell upon the recent trends and the essence of the tension that currently grows in relation to marketing services in the US healthcare and policing. In this respect, it should be said that the development of American society is characterized by the domination of the open market economy and its major principles. In fact, the human life is growing more and more commercialized and open market relationships interfere in practically all spheres of life. Naturally, healthcare and policing are not exceptions.
In such a situation, it is possible to speak about the interference of market interests in the interests of society, or public interests. It is not a secret that healthcare and policing are subjects of public concern because they play an extremely important, vital role in the life of each individual and in the normal functioning of the entire society. This is why any tension within these services inevitably affects human society and each individual.
At first glance, it seems to be paradoxical how marketing services, implemented in the US healthcare and policing, can provoke tension in these services. As it has been just said marketing services and open market relationships have become a norm of the modern life and may be observed in practically all spheres of human life. Consequently, if it works in other spheres than marketing services should work in healthcare and policing perfectly too.
However, this is exactly where the major problems arise. In actuality, it is possible to speak about two opposing points of view on the implementation of marketing services in healthcare and policing. On the one hand, there are proponents of the further and wider implementation of marketing services in healthcare and policing, believing that they are extremely beneficial for both healthcare and policy and, thus, for the society and people who actually use these services. On the other hand, there exist an absolutely different point of view, according to which the implementation of marketing services in healthcare and policing is inadmissible and may have disastrous consequences not only to healthcare and policing but to the entire society as well.
In this respect, that it is extremely important to clearly define what party is actually right because it is evident that healthcare and policing are vitally important services. It proves beyond a doubt that they are key services that guarantee social stability and progress of the US because these services provide normal functioning of each individual and the society at large as the take care about individuals’ health, their security and protection of human rights.
Consequently, any deterioration of the quality of healthcare of policing services will inevitably affect the social life and the life of each particular individual in the US. This is why it is necessary to be very careful with the implementation of marketing services in healthcare and policing.
Benefits of marketing services in healthcare and policing
On analyzing possible benefits of the wide implementation of marketing services in the US healthcare and policing, it is necessary to point out that they basically refer to the financial spheres. To put it more precisely, it is not a secret that often healthcare and policing services suffer from the insufficient funding of its services and, consequently, they need to apply marketing tools to attract the public to their problems or simply to attract additional financial resources to fund their services (Balachandran and Srinidhi 29). Practically, it means that healthcare system may implement services that could be directly financed either by service users or by sponsors, while policing services may also be of a marketing character and provide additional source of funding, such as special service to provide some individuals or organizations with guard, for instance.
It should be said that the supporters of the implementation of marketing services in the US healthcare and policing may really close the gap between the growing needs of the two services and their scarce or limited funding. Obviously, this seems to be a serious argument in favor of the support of marketing services in healthcare and policing.
Furthermore, it is argued that the implementation of marketing services, along with possibility to receive additional funding, may substantially increase the quality of services because the implementation of marketing services in other spheres of social life has proved their efficacy. it should be said that he implementation of marketing services implies the use of marketing principles among which may be named the principle of fair competition, for instance, which, being applied to healthcare, for instance, may result in the growing quality of some medicines or services and decreasing price.
At the same time, it should be said that one of the most arguable points of the current discussion concerning the implementation of marketing services in the US healthcare and policing is closely related to the problem of advertising which is used by healthcare and policing services. In this respect, it is necessary to underline that advertising is one of the most effective tools of marketing, which, being properly used, may be extremely useful.
To put it more precisely, the use of advertising as one of the marketing services may be quite beneficial for the healthcare system. The supporters of the wide use of marketing services in healthcare argue that the advertising and promotion of some medicines, for instance, make them closer to the consumers and may be really helpful (Hawkins 250). It should be said that the use of advertising makes medicines more accessible and this can be really good or beneficial for the customers if the medicine that is advertised can be distributed without any special prescription (Mintzes 910). Naturally, it seems to be quite comfortable when customers just learn about a remedy that can solve their current insignificant health problem without consultations with a doctor that takes time and, as a rule, is accompanied by certain period spent on the treatment, while the use of medicines distributed without prescription makes it possible to use them and work at the same time. In this respect, advertising is the easiest way to save time and find the essential medicine.
On the other hand, it is necessary to remember that advertising targets not only on the wide public and consumers but also on doctors (Barnes 93). In this respect, advertising may be a useful tool that keeps American doctors informed about the recent achievements of pharmaceutical industry, though, it is worthy of mention that doctors and medical specialists are the most critical audience of the advertising of medicines.
As for the policing services, it should be said that advertising in this sphere may also be quite useful and effective. However, it is worthy of mention that the advertising should be of a high quality and, naturally, it should be socially oriented. In other words, advertising, being applied to policing, should focus on the promotion of the positive models of behavior, preserving social order, prevention of crimes and anti-social behavior. Basically, advertising in policing may be quite effective preventive tool.
Negative effects of marketing services in healthcare and policing
Nevertheless, regardless the arguments of the supporters of the positive impact of marketing services on healthcare and policing, the arguments of their opponents still seem to be more convincing. In this respect, it should be said that practically all the benefits mentioned above have another side which has negative effects on the services and services users.
To put it more precisely, the arguments concerning the use of marketing services as means to improve funding of the US healthcare and policing are not very convincing because, according to the basic marketing principles, before receive some benefit or profit, it is primarily necessary to invest money (Balachandran and Srinidhi 32). I such a way, the investment in marketing services from the part of healthcare and policing will inevitably need some initial investments or in other words, it will need some additional expenditure that cannot be by any means profitable to both services.
At the same time, according to the basic marketing rules, any investment is potentially exposed to certain risks (Balachandran and Srinidhi 33). Naturally, it is possible to argue that the risk may be more or less insignificant but, nevertheless, when the public funds are used it does not seem to be quite fair or just when they are ‘invested’ ineffectively. Anyway, healthcare and policing services are not commercial enterprises targeting at the receiving of some extra profits.
Moreover, their primary concern is the public health and safety. Naturally, the ineffective use of funds will inevitably influence not only service providers but basically ordinary citizens, who, by the way, are regularly funding both healthcare and policing services through the tax that they pay (Balachandran and Srinidhi 30). Consequently, it is hardly possible to speak about financial profitability of marketing services which could applied in healthcare and policing because, in actuality, there are no guarantees that the benefits of healthcare and policing systems in marketing services will outweigh the costs of investments in these services.
Neither it is possible to speak about the increasing quality of services of the US healthcare and policing. The reason is quite obvious that the ‘marketization’ of healthcare and policing rather stimulates the development of market relationships while the increase of quality of services turns to be secondary. In actuality, when marketing principles and services are applied, the quality is viewed only as a tool that can increase revenues (Balachandran and Srinidhi 27).
Moreover, in the case of policing, for instance, an attempt to get some extra funding due to the use of marketing services can be quite dangerous because, potentially, it can increase the corruption within policing system. Anyway, it is obvious that neither healthcare nor policing target at the higher profitability. In stark contrast, both healthcare and policing are public services that should be non-profitable and focused on the individual and social benefits than on commercial profits.
As for advertising, it is necessary to underline that, in the case of policing services, this measure can be effective but as long as the advertising is of a high quality. Practically, this means that the advertising would be expansive because a good advertising, as a rule, needs good funding. At the same time, it is necessary to remember that advertising, even though it is a good preventive measure, is expansive but not always effective because, in order to prevent crimes or decrease the crime rate, it is necessary to eliminate the causes of crime (Balachandran and Srinidhi 29) and not a single advertising, even the genius one, can do it. This is why it seems to be more logical to redirect funding from advertising within policing services to more efficient spheres, for instance, additional training of police officers, or development some educational programs with the participation of policing services, etc.
Speaking about advertising in healthcare services, it is necessary to underline that nowadays it is really a great business. For instance, according to the recent data, the promotion of new medicines in the US takes about $19 billion dollars (Barnes 185). It should be said that this enormous sum is spent not only directly on advertising but, as specialists state, the promotion includes advertising, gifts giving, and support for medically related activities such as travel to meetings and support for conferences. In actuality, the average cost to bring to market a so-called block-buster drug is currently estimated at $895 million (Barnes 186).
Obviously, the promotion of medicines implies enormous spending. At the same time, speaking about advertising proper, it should be said that it can also have a number of negative effects above its cost. To put it more precisely, medicines advertising may be simply misleading (Mintzes 909). In other words, the product advertised can have a different effect on individual’s health than it is promised to be in advertising. Obviously, this can be extremely dangerous, especially, if the medicine has some dangerous side effects. This is why, regardless the fact that some medicines may be sold without prescription and are widely advertised, it is still highly recommended to check with doctor whether this medicine can be used by a patient or not.
Furthermore, it is necessary to remember about the risk of the disease mongering (Barnes 212). In fact, it is really dangerous to use any medicine only on the basis of its advertising. It is obvious that, even though the medicine may be helpful, it does not necessarily mean that it really cures the health problem an individual has. In such a way, the consultations with a doctor turns to be simply an essential procedure but, in such a case, advertising turns to be practically useless for patients since it is a specialists who should recommend or prescribe medicine but not a producer or distributor. Consequently, advertising is just a waste of money that could be used more effectively in healthcare.
At the same time, as the promotion and advertising really needs enormous funds, they naturally lead to the increase of the costs of medicines within national health system (Barnes 221). In actuality, it is another law of the market economy since, if some money is invested in the promotion of a product than this sum will be reflected on the price consumers will have to pay for this product.
Finally, it is not a secret that the newest and the most promoted medicines are the ones with the least well-understood safety profiles (Barnes 235). In other words, the real effects of the new heavily promoted medical products are not fully reliable because they were only clinically tested while the mass consumption of these products may have quite different results which, even though they are quite few, may be extremely dangerous.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the current arguments concerning the use of marketing services in healthcare and policing, such as advertising, for instance, prove the fact that marketing services are not always useful for healthcare and policing service providers and service recipients. In fact, it is obvious that the costs and negative effects of the implementation of marketing services in healthcare and policing substantially outweigh its potential benefits.
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