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Chris Savage: Walking the commercialization tight rope

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Please note, this article contains references to Ashfield Engage which has now become Inizio Engage

Chris Savage, SVP of Global Strategy and North American Sales and Marketing, recently sat down with Pharmaceutical Commerce to discuss how the pharma business model is changing and how timing, strategic alignment and resource planning are now essential considerations before launch.

It used to be almost automatic. Achieving launch success was a matter of numbers – the number of times you called on the HCP with rep teams would deliver the targeted “Total Rx.” Not so anymore. Getting an informed prescribing decision, patient adherence to the medication, and coverage of patient costs in today’s healthcare landscape requires a tough walk on a commercialization tight rope –  where you need to balance your organization’s resources and capabilities with the individual HCPs, patients and payers’ engagements through a multitude of touchpoints.

To achieve the necessary balance, we recommend that you start commercialization planning 24-36 months before launch. This should give you enough time to evaluate strategies and how to put your best foot forward. As part of this planning, you should address what the ideal treatment experience should look like and identify the individual moments that matter for all stakeholders – HCPs, patients and caregivers, and payers. Once these are established, you need to identify the resources needed to put your plans in motion.

Do you have the internal agility to quickly flex and efficiently address the changing needs across geographies as you learn about existing and new targets on the fly? Are you adept at leveraging digital and remote resources to drive awareness, and then pivoting to MSLs, sales reps or service reps when needed to address gaps in knowledge on disease state and clinical effectiveness?  Can you build confidence with the HCP that once she writes a prescription for your product that the patient will have the support needed to get onto, and stay on, therapy?

You should address what the ideal treatment experience should look like and identify the individual moments that matter for all stakeholders – HCPs, patients and payers

The challenges are many, and even more so when you are a biotech startup or a company with a small portfolio. The time and resources needed to meet the regulatory milestones to launch can be all-consuming leaving little for development and implementation of launch strategies. Do you have the resources and experience needed to best deliver the engagement experiences that will drive launch success?

It is the organization which recognizes its strengths and weaknesses while addressing this balancing act that will most likely achieve its launch target. You need to look at what investment is required along the commercialization path and decide where will you achieve the best outcome for that investment. Then you need to determine how to go forward. Do you rely on internal resources, work with an outsourced partner with experience across the many engagement disciplines or a combination of both. Turning to an outsourced partner experienced in engagement may be just what you need to help strike the necessary balance required to make it across the commercialization tight rope.

Read more from Chris here, Shaping Strategies for a New Era of Engagement and Commercialization