A product launch is no child’s play, a significant amount of planning and execution strategies are decided on before the actual product launch. A product’s performance during its launch often indicates how successful it will be during its life cycle. Take the example of the movie business; the opening weekend is the critical barometer to predict how popular the movie will turn out to be at the box office. That dynamic holds true in the biopharmaceutical industry as well. However, in the current market scenario, biopharmaceutical product launch is more challenging than ever before. Rising regulatory issues, growing stakeholder expectations, numerous market-access hurdles, and stiff competition are some of the critical hindrances coming in the way of biopharma companies. So how can players in the biopharmaceutical space overcome these hurdles and roll out a successful product launch plan?
Create a game plan
Managers need to think strategically if they aim at leading their team to victory in the case of a product launch. They must take into account market conditions, how much companies have spent to support a competing product, and the product’s positioning at a particular point in time. Considering only competitors’ past actions leaves managers unprepared to react to changes in rivals’ tactics. Instead, companies must plan for the “game” that lies ahead, predicting the successive moves that competitors might make in to tackle a new market entrant. War-gaming can prove to be a useful tool for identifying possible market disruptions, study the probability of various competitive actions, estimate their impact, and design an appropriate response.
Cross-functional market access team
Traditionally, winning in the marketplace has been achieved by having sales representatives continually communicating information about a product’s efficacy and safety directly to physicians. Today, biopharmaceutical companies need to effectively make the case for their product to a host of payers and health technology assessment (HTA) agencies, which are now operating in most markets. Though many companies have a market access team, it rarely includes individuals from different verticals across the organization. To have a constructive conversation with payers, companies must create a cross-functional market-access team comprised of individuals from various departments such as R&D, sales and marketing, and medical affairs. This team can get in touch with payers and HTA agencies and then keep them updated on the decisions made throughout the R&D process. The team should especially communicate the type of patient populations that are being targeted and the expected benefits. This will give payers and HTA agencies the opportunity to provide guidance on the kind of efficacy and safety data they would be looking for.
Price increases have been a significant driver of growth for pharmaceutical companies, accounting for 65% of the industry’s growth worldwide. Although the biopharmaceutical industry has relied heavily on price increases, it is not leveraging pricing as a tool for gaining competitive advantage. Biopharmaceutical companies should study innovative pricing strategies during product development and make pricing a core pillar of the product’s profile. Innovative pricing is often critical to gaining market access and receiving reimbursement.
Build stakeholder relationships
The ideal biopharmaceutical selling model focuses on a single channel: the physician. But this approach is no longer relevant in a world where myriad stakeholders exert significant influence over prescribing decisions. A consistent challenge is getting a comprehensive view of which stakeholders matter the most, who is connected to whom, and who influences the stakeholder network. Social-network analysis helps biopharma companies to identify which institutions or individuals – key opinion leaders, payers, HTA agencies, guideline committees, or physician and patient groups are the most influential across stakeholder groups.