The environmental challenges and complexities of launching a medicine
Despite the increasing levels of innovation and potential revenue growth, successfully launching a new product continues to present a challenge for pharmaceutical companies. This is largely due to an increasingly complex and restrictive environment, and the need to develop a targeted value proposition for multiple stakeholders in order to drive uptake.
Environmental Challenge #1 - Stakeholder landscape
Over the years the complexity of influencer networks has increased, and the decision-making power has shifted from the prescriber to the payer, with new stakeholders emerging. Fragmented decision making, market-specific evaluation processes and therapy area specific issues means pharma companies need to recognise and interact with the full healthcare ecosystem, understanding which stakeholders to engage with and prioritise their activities accordingly.
Environmental Challenge #2 – Cost containment
Real pharma spending fell in almost all European countries after 2009, with the implementation of government mandated price cuts and changes in reimbursement policies. As a result of the pressure on healthcare costs, there is an increased focus on patient outcomes and value-based medicine. Payers at multiple levels are constantly attempting to balance quality, cost and access when providing healthcare coverage. Companies therefore need to develop strategies to formulate a robust value proposition, ideally based on outcomes data and tailor this proposition in a way that resonates strongly to the specific payer audience and their scope of responsibility. Strategies need to be put in place to collect real-world evidence post launch to continue to demonstrate outcomes benefits in the cost constrained environment.
Environmental Challenge #3 – Speciality care
We have seen a significant shift of new medicine launches from primary care to speciality care in the last decade. New product launches are increasingly targeted at smaller populations with niche indications. The number of orphan drug designation requests to the FDA has doubled in the past five years and the value of the rare disease sector has increased 13 times since 2000. To ensure success, companies need to have a deeper understanding of the patient journey and treatment pathways of each of the core target patient segments they aim to capture.
Even with a strongly differentiated product, it is vital to have a robust and coordinated launch approach to overcome these environmental challenges. In addition, companies often face internal cost pressure and resource constraints that need to be addressed. Adapting marketing strategies to increase their effectiveness and efficiency is therefore an additional layer of complexity to consider. To support this effort, companies need to ensure that they utilise digital technologies and multichannel opportunities as an integral part of their offering to ensure a positive and customer-centric experience.
To support companies overcome these hurdles and achieve a high-performance launch, ACCRETIO recommends shaping launch strategy around four key pillars:
1. Ensure a robust understanding of the market environment, the patient journey and treatment pathway
2. Create a compelling value proposition and supporting message to gain regulatory approval and market access
3. Maximise advocacy, adoption and uptake through appropriate and targeted stakeholder engagement
4. Build and mobilise an effective and coordinated commercial and medical organisation