Ten Ways to Influence the Pharmaceutical Market

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The role of every brand manager, regardless of industry, is to ensure their company's voice is heard over the background noise of the marketplace. …

The role of every brand manager, regardless of industry, is to ensure their company's voice is heard over the background noise of the marketplace.

Unlike other industries, however, guaranteeing a positive reception for a new pharmaceutical product isn't just a case of spending the most on advertising or sponsorship. There are strategies you must adopt in order to influence the market positively and make sure you realize the greatest possible return on your investment.

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  • 1. 10 ways…to influencethe marketA practical guide by Lawrence Liberti andPatrick DenninThe role of every brand manager, regardless however, guaranteeing a positive reception strategies you must adopt in order toof industry, is to ensure their company’s for a new pharmaceutical product isn’t influence the market positively and makevoice is heard over the background noise just a case of spending the most on sure you realise the greatest possible returnof the marketplace. Unlike other industries, advertising or sponsorship. There are on your investment.
  • 2. 1. DETERMINE WHO IS YOUR Figure 1: SOV for product ACTUAL CUSTOMERThroughout the research and developmentphase, your team had a clear audience in Aripiprazole (Bipolar) 4%mind – the patients who will hopefully benefit Carbamazepine 8% Ziprasidone (Bipolar) 3%from your endeavours and innovation. The Fluoxetine and Olanzapine 2%impetus was to create a better drug that will Risperidone (Bipolar) 9%improve treatment and quality of life. Lithium 22% But suddenly, when the drug reaches Quetiapinecommercialisation, the customer changes. (Bipolar) 10%Except to a very small degree, the marketingteam doesn’t sell to the patient. Neither isthe clinician the primary customer, sincethey don’t make the final decision when it Lamotrigine (Bipolar) 11% Valproate 16%comes to prescribing your drug.Undoubtedly they have an influence, but Olanzapine (Bipolar) 14%your primary customer is that large and Amisulpride (Bipolar) 0%, Asenapine (Bipolar) 0%diverse group including third-party payers,regulatory bodies and patient advocacygroups. It is these people who will fund marketplace is putting more perceived washing powder: you can effect greatyour drug, and it is these people you must power into the hands of the patient. New change by building up that informationconvince in your marketing. channels of information, such as the Internet buzz throughout the target community. Therefore, it makes sense to engage with and direct-to-consumer advertising, bringthe marketing department throughout expectations of receiving gold standard 4. FIND NEW FORUMS FORresearch and development to ensure you treatment. Patients are more literate, YOUR MESSAGEhave a coherent, compelling story of educated by better news reporting, ever As an example, podcasting is capable ofdistinct therapeutic benefits that will more available information, and fuelled reaching a huge audience. The portableconvince payers and regulatory bodies, by patient self-help or knowledge-sharing media player is now ubiquitous. It’s certainnot just patients. Indeed, it may be better groups. The ‘hassle factor’ can work, and almost all your patients will own one, letto think of a drug as providing ‘value in your marketing strategy can only benefit by alone the physicians and academics anduse’ rather than therapeutic advantage. exploring these channels: better informing influencers throughout the hierarchy Rather than leave the decisions about the patient so that they will act as your of your target audiences, and uptake of everwhich drugs to pursue entirely to the advocate in the clinic, and to some degree more sophisticated and bandwidth-hungryresearchers, your organisation should become your voice in the community. content is growing exponentially.share the decision between research, What’s more, the podcast has an imageportfolio management, franchise strategy 3. EXPLORE THE AVAILABLE that is exactly right for the innovative,and marketing teams. This means that CHANNELS OF INFORMATION forward-thinking, ‘new frontiers’ role thateffectively marketing has two distinct An intelligent marketing campaign, then, pharmaceutical companies like to build forfunctions: to push information outwards, should embrace all the available channels, themselves. New media is associated withand to be the voice of the true customer not just the traditional scientific platforms. the cutting edge of science and technology,within the organisation. The patient group that finds information on a forum for building ‘cool’ brands. Just by your product website, in order to support the fact of you using it, this type of delivery2. EDUCATE THE PATIENT their demands for gold standard treatment, will reinforce the image your organisationClearly, the influence of each of the target can be a powerful voice. So can the doctors wants to portray – immediate connectionaudiences is in flux. Originally you only who network online to share case studies with your audience from a company on theneeded to convince the physicians. Today, and best clinical practice, and to alert each crest of innovation.as we have seen, it is the third-party payers other to new therapies. Already, we’re seeing pharmaceuticaland regulatory bodies who are your primary Through the Internet, patients and doctors institutions embracing channels like these.customers. But the role of the patient is alike are sharing knowledge not only about The European Respiratory Society andchanging, too. Arguably, we are witnessing the benefits of new drugs, but about adverse the American Society of Clinical Oncologya shift back toward the patient as, if not effects, too. ‘Blogs’ give their contributors were among the first to offer podcasts ofa primary customer, but a significant complete, generally uncensored access to their congresses. Virtual sessions wereinfluence on prescribing patterns. the experiences and opinions of their peers online a week after the event, feeding There’s always been a ‘hassle factor’ – experiences and opinions which, for good the vast audience of clinicians and otherin the clinics – patients having seen an or bad, can have a huge influence on the influencers too busy to attend. The scopeadvertising campaign, or read a news market. You cannot affect these pools of for sponsorship is huge, let alone thearticle and demanding the drug for their shared information, but you need to build forum for press releases, clinical trialown treatment. This can put them into your marketing strategy intelligently to results and marketing messages.conflict with their doctor or payer, but take account of them.except in a few high profile cases will not Effectively, you are able to exploit the 5. THINK LIKE A CLINICIANgenerally change the clinician’s prescribing same methods of ‘viral marketing’ that When it comes to influencing the clinician,habits or influence the payer. other industries use to great effect. It your main problem isn’t that this audience However, the increasingly diverse doesn’t matter if you’re selling drugs or lacks information about your product. On the 2 PMGroup © 2008 A practical guide by Lawrence Liberti and Patrick Dennin 10 ways to influence the market
  • 3. contrary, they have too much information to Figure 2: Normalised messages with the highest indexdeal with. Your voice may well be drownedout not just by the voices of your competitors,but by independent research, comparative 5%studies, and the roar of scientific and marketinformation directed at this sector. For you, this is a problem. But for the Olanzapine associated with weight gain 100%clinician, it’s worse still. Somehow they areexpected to make intelligent prescribing 92% Quetiapiane is safe and well tolerateddecisions despite not having the time,tools or resources to turn that barrage ofinformation into actionable knowledge. 90% Olanzapine effective for mania Thinking like a clinician meansunderstanding the methods by which 79%clinicians filter out the background noise Lithium reduces suicide risk/rateto isolate the data or message they cantrust to steer their prescribing habits. You 63%may not be able to shout above the noise, Lithium effective for bipolar depressionbut you can certainly apply objective,scientific methods to understand howyour messages are being received. 0 25 50 75 100 Clinicians turn to scientific journal Message indexarticles and medical meeting content Messagesto analyse and assess the strengths and Avg message indexweaknesses of therapeutic options. Theythen use this learning to reach clinically-supported conclusions about the risk/ new drug. Through message mapping, it releases the first information about thatbenefit profile of each therapy. Clinically- your organisation can see analyses of drug. Long before the product reachessupported decisions are what all good the indications being investigated by its the shelves, you need to have a marketclinicians strive to practice. Knowing how competitors, and can identify respected that is ready to receive it, and eager topositive and negative messaging affect the investigators to help design and implement begin prescription.weight of evidence that they use to judge a the clinical program. To achieve this, your strategy should nottherapy, you can emulate their processes just rely on clinical results and scientific data.and position your products accordingly. 7. BUILD UP A PROFILE OF YOUR DRUG You need to employ the market influence Message mapping can also help to plan your of objective, independent scientists and6. LEVERAGE MESSAGE MAPPING TO marketing strategy. It can help to develop clinicians. The more credible and respected YOUR ADVANTAGE a profile of the strengths and weaknesses, the advocate, the more impact your early‘Message mapping’ is the term used to from the clinician’s point of view, not only of messages will have.describe attempts to analyse the information your new drug, but also of its competitors. In other words, your early strategythat clinicians are exposed to, in order to Identifying the strengths, weaknesses, needs to expand away merely from brandevaluate critically the characteristics of opportunities and threats (SWOT) of a drug management to embrace medical affairsits key clinical concepts and themes. By is a key aspect of developing a profile of and medical science liaison functionsdeveloping a systematic means of identifying knowledge about it. Categorising strengths within your organisation, generating clinicalkey resources, messaging mapping can and weaknesses about target dugs as data and laying the groundwork for youridentify the publications most likely to shape described in the scientific literature can product in terms of customer education. Inprofessional opinions about particular drugs provide a unique way to profile a product. not so many words, the internal functionsand therapies. Individual key concepts or messages and external advocates act as front-line One way to visualise the extent to which influence our understanding of the benefits training teams, not just building awarenesspositive or negative information influences and weaknesses of particular therapies. of your product but ‘visualising’ it intoa clinician’s opinion of a particular therapy A ‘message credibility index’ (Figure 2) the day-to-day working practices ofis to aggregate a ‘product credibility can assess key messages, ranking them healthcare practitioners.index’ value for this information. You may for their strength and frequency. Byfind that for some therapies the extent of aggregating the messages (positive and 9. DEVELOP KEY OPINION LEADERSnegative information is almost as large as negative) for a product, you can calculate Every company is different in the way itthe positive aspects of the drug. a ‘product credibility index’. By plotting identifies and engages with thought leaders. A ‘share of voice’ analysis (Figure 1) can the change in product credibility over The methods you use should cover the entireshow the extent to which there is a discourse time (Figure 3) you’ll learn about trends spectrum of available advocates, fromin the literature about a particular drug and that can occur based on information in the academics and scientific experts to clinicaleven in which uses there is more interest. published literature. investigators and the clinicians themselves. Understanding how competitors have Among opinion leaders, the advocatesdeveloped their drugs will give the clinical 8. PREPARE THE MARKET to target are not necessarily those whodepartment an edge in designing their Every pharmaceutical company primes speak and read most – being prolific is notclinical studies to best characterise the the market for its drug from the moment necessarily a measure of whether they’re 10 ways to influence the market A practical guide by Lawrence Liberti and Patrick Dennin PMGroup © 2008 3
  • 4. being heard. To determine this, you needto analyse carefully the citations that show Figure 3: Change in product credibility over timethat a person actually has influence on the 9250therapy area in question. Exactly as with message mapping, you can 8000apply objective, scientific measurement toopinion leaders, ranking them preciselyin terms of their influence and voice. How 6750prestigious was the paper? How much Product credibility indeximpact did they have? How much did they 5500contribute? At the same time, carefulanalysis of these publications and sources 4250can show when an opinion leaders is alsobeing paid by one of your competitors, 3000ensuring you don’t approach them. An ‘advocate mapping’ system should 1750also enable you to apply weightings tothe list of available opinion leaders, so 500that you can choose the advocate rightfor your organization based on their H-index and the publications (first author, 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007last author), patents (first inventor, lastinventor), or clinical trials (principal Amisulpride (Bipolar) Fluoxetine and Olanzapine Quetiapine (Bipolar)investigator) they’re linked to, not just the Aripiprazole (Bipolar) Lamotrigine Risperidone (Bipolar) Asenapine (Bipolar) Lithium Valproateoverall number of citations. The result is a Carbamazepine Olanzapine (Bipolar) Ziprasidone (Bipolar)‘scorecard’ system that gives you the bestfit advocates at a glance. to be important influencers and to provide product messages are directed their way.10. REALISE THAT CLINICIANS ARE stability in the sale of future products. When your representative visits this ALSO ADVOCATES They don’t wait for their peers to adopt kind of clinician, they need to keep in mindDoctors influence doctors. This means a new drug before following suit. They that they’re not trying to sell a product.that even on the front-line of patient care, do their own research, make their own They’re nurturing and developing a brandthere are unpaid, unrecognised potential decisions, are likely to be early adopters advocate and, through them, influencingadvocates for your drug. Your organisation – and most of all, are likely to influence the entire market.needs to gauge not just how a clinician those around them.influences their peers, but how likely an Indeed, these clinicians can be among your Authorsindividual clinician is to be influenced by strongest supporters in the marketplace, Lawrence Liberti is VP, Generalchanges in healthcare policy. For example, and should be part of an intelligent Manager, Thomson Pharmaceuticalif a hospital or private care trust adopts marketing strategy. Instead of building up Services and Patrick Dennin isa negative stance on a drug, or swaps segmentation data based on prescribing Director and Product Manager forto another, what is the likelihood that a volume, it makes more sense to build a THOMSON PHARMA KOLexperts.clinician will cease prescribing it? profile that includes the clinician’s zest for They can be contacted at: Clearly, if a clinician is not easily influenced scientific data, desire to know more about lawrence.liberti@thomsonreuters.comby such a swing in hospital policy, he’s of added values such as patient support, and (+1 215 328 4574) andgreat value to your organisation. Such the kinds of commissions and panels they patrick.dennin@thomsonreuters.comstrong-minded individuals are most likely sit on, to ensure that the right kinds of (+1 610 450 4732), respectively. THOMSON MESSAGE MAPPING SYSTEMSM Measures the potential impact of published scientific information on the clinical practices of healthcare professionals by ranking it in a way that reflects their selection and reading processes. scientific.thomsonreuters.com/products/tmms THOMSON PHARMA® KOLexperts There are more experts than you know. Thomson Pharma KOLexperts can help you to identify, verify, develop and understand the thought leaders, symposium speakers and product advocates that can support your research and strengthen your market position. scientific.thomsonreuters.com/products/kolexperts EXPERT KNOWLEDGE To request more information about our products and solutions, go to: FOR SMARTER PUBLICATIONS scientific.thomsonreuters.com/forms/pcad190x70mm_TR_10ways_ad.indd 1 22/7/08 13:21:23 4 PMGroup © 2008 A practical guide by Lawrence Liberti and Patrick Dennin 10 ways to influence the market