The product launch is a moment of truth when it comes to the longevity of any pharmaceutical company. If a company manages a launch well, all of its recent shortcomings are forgiven and even patent cliffs become less scary. For the companies who will lead the way in the next century, pharmaceutical launches will look very different due to more restrictive market access and an emphasis on personalized medicine with smaller, but intensely focused, product pitches to niche audiences.
One Size No Longer Fits All
Although the pharmaceutical industry as a whole is having trouble moving away from huge product launches, the fact that over 50 percent of these launches have not met expectations will force a change. Even a blockbuster drug like Januvia from Merck is being marketed through non-traditional routes, including digital channels and local education sessions. As access becomes more restrictive down the road, the pharma product launch that creates a profit will be the smaller, more targeted therapy launch with a highly mobile and digital campaign.
Updating Launch Toolkits
The differences between the traditional and the targeted Dx-aligned, digitally enabled and sprawling new markets will only continue to grow as time goes on. The launch toolkits that work today in New York and Wyoming will be modified by successful pharmaceutical companies 10 years in the future to more closely navigate the populations of those individual communities.
For instance, Biogen Idec has already set up a full-time team of cross-functional professionals that can help with all launches and provide separate, specialized ground forces for each launch. Each ground force recruits talent based upon the unique circumstances of the locality and the product, giving less consideration to general pharmaceutical experience. As pharma companies move past the need for a dedicated command central, this will become the norm rather than an innovative strategy only used by a few market leaders today. It is important to remember that any approach still needs to be aligned towards the joint targeted therapy/diagnostic products when relevant.
What Will This Produce in 10 Years?
In a decade, we can expect to see a pharmaceutical industry that seems more specialized. With exponential gains in advanced diagnostics expected throughout the industry, consumers will naturally look to a more personalized solution for their conditions. They are already very interested in testing for their risk of inherited diseases or life changing conditions such as strokes or dementia. Top companies are already responding by breaking down teams by location and product, and new technology and higher expectations will only cause this trend to continue. Depending on the needs of the population, we might see a completely personalized solution made on call at the behest of each individual patient Although this seems like a pipe dream today, the foundations are being established, and consider the stratification that has occurred since the height of the Viagra craze!