Marketing & Sales (Chapter 5)
Pharmaceutical marketers use the classical 4Ps of marketing (product, price, place, promotion) to market therapeutics to the key stakeholders: prescribers, payers, and patients. Tactics deployed depended largely on the size of the market, the number of competitors, the number of prescribers and payer ability to influence access/coverage.
Primary Care Drug Tactics (examples):
- Use big sales forces to promote broadly to prescribers (reach and frequency).
- Negotiate contracts with payers to gain desired tier on drug formularies.
- Deploy direct-to-consumer campaigns to engage the patient in the product selection process.
- Ensure products are within easy reach of patients (open distribution).
Specialty Drug Tactics (examples):
- Use small sales forces to promote to smaller group of prescribers.
- Invest in outcomes studies to showcase drug “value” versus cost to payers.
- Create copay programs, adherence programs, and side effect management programs to maximize appropriate product utilization.
- Contribute to 501c3 patient assistance foundations so that qualifying patients can obtain access to diagnostic testing and therapy in accordance with their financial means.
- Ensure products are accessible, but more importantly, are well-supported by clinical specialists who can advise patients on a number of topic related to the medication (limited distribution).
Personalized Medicine Implications
Although the majority of today’s personalized medicines are specialty drugs, the concept of personalized medicine is just as applicable to primary care drugs. For example, diagnostic tests are currently available to determine whether Plavix® (a drug used by millions of patients) is effective or not for a particular patient. Well-published data show that a small number of patients with a specific genetic profile obtain little to no benefit from Plavix.
Personalized medicine adds quite a bit of complexity to the sales and marketing processes:
- The target market is smaller: Whereas, products used to be FDA-approved for all patients with a particular disease, now they may be approved for a segment of that population with a specific genetic profile.
- The physician message is more far complex: Whereas the limited detailing time available was devoted to safety, efficacy, and competitive positioning, the same amount of time now needs to also include a discussion about patient selection (genomic profile) and diagnostic testing.
- The physician office manager and staff need even more education than before: It used to be that the doctor wrote a prescription and the patient picked it up at the pharmacy. Sure, prior authorizations were sometimes necessary, but now the office manager may need to have a relationship with one or more testing companies offering FDA-approved diagnostic tests. Some tests require blood, some a cheek swab, and others require a tissue sample. The office manager needs to know how to order those tests, code them for reimbursement (assuming they will be reimbursed), and ship them for processing. NOTE: These service components are quite new and different for most pharmaceutical companies.
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