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Pharma Marketers’ Blog: Creating Life Cycle Strategies for the Future of Your Team’s Success

Authored by Maxine Smith, Managing Director, Uptake for the PME Marketers’ Blog

In this article, Maxine notes that most of us will work across the main life-cycle stages of a product at some point in our careers.

Maxine lists a few questions to consider:

If we put ourselves in the shoes of patients, what would we – as our ‘pharma selves’ – want to be thinking about?

As we move from the shoes of patients to putting on healthcare professional thinking caps, I wonder how different the questions from the patients would be?

Maxine has examined the three more traditional stakeholder groups, but as we think about future LCM, we need to also look at defining, categorising, and considering emerging stakeholders, such as digital patient champions, new sources of insurance or funding, different health delivery models, good incentive-based health management, and more.

Read below or click to access the published version

Adopting varied perspectives on health management can benefit a wider range of people

Most of us will work across the main life cycle stages of a product at some point in our careers. We will experience the excitement (and exhaustion!) of a launch brand, the competitive challenge of a growing brand, the strategic complexity of a more established brand and the nervous anxiety of an end-of-exclusivity brand. Some of us will also have the opportunity to work on the early strategy of an asset, experiencing the brain ache of predicting what the world will look like in several years’ time when the asset comes to market. Others will work in the generics space, juggling 30 brands at a time and managing pricing very intently.

Robust life cycle management (LCM) provides many advantages to benefit teams, as they take a longer-term view of the pharma brands and portfolios they are steering.

There is much written about the management of brands across the key life cycle phases, but I wonder: when taking a longer-term life cycle management approach to brand planning and strategy, to what extent are we thinking more broadly and adapting the strategies of these critical life cycle management time points, with a deeper understanding of our stakeholders’ needs?

A good starting point would be to run future thinking sessions about the evolution of disease management, the future of healthcare, disruptive forces and technologies and how these will impact patients, healthcare professionals and payers in the one- to two-, three- to five- and five- to ten-year horizon. Once mapped, we can interpret these in the context of future innovation opportunities, capabilities needed and future potential partners.

We are then in the position to consider each key stakeholder group in turn, focusing first on patient-centricity across the life cycle. If we put ourselves in the shoes of patients, what would we – as our ‘pharma selves’ – want to be thinking about? The list might read something like this:

  • Disease strategies that help patients and are not just medicine-selling strategies
  • Help to be diagnosed earlier and more efficiently
  • Guidance on talking to family, friends and colleagues about illness or new treatments
  • Companies to stay focused on the meaningful benefits for patients and not the difference in p-values versus competitors
  • A sense of confidence that any support offered will continue until patients have finished their need for the medicine, not when the patent has expired.

If we, with our patient shoes on, look at LCM, we can see many areas where we would ask different questions to drive different strategies and solutions.

As we move from the shoes of patients to putting on healthcare professional thinking caps, I wonder how different the questions from the patients would be? Maybe wanting to know more about a mix of ‘what’ is coming together with ‘how’ clinicians need to be ready, a greater understanding of new potential molecules in the pipeline, and also how clinicians should be thinking and planning for changes in clinical practice as disease management changes.

At the launch of a new treatment, with our healthcare professional caps on, we might be asking for:

  • More support in how to integrate the new approach into day-to-day patient management
  • How to talk about the new options eloquently and confidently with patients
  • How to translate the clinical trial results into the reality of daily practice
  • How to identify which patient is best suited to which brand option when there is more than one
  • How to sequence treatment to provide the longest duration of options
  • How continuity of care can be provided when products lose their exclusivity.

As we work through the classic list of our core stakeholders, let us not neglect payers. Let’s assume we have taken off the patient shoes and healthcare professional caps and donned payer cloaks. What would we, as payers, be asking our ‘pharma selves’ for? First up would be a need for effective and transparent horizon scanning. In most cases this does already happen, but as a payer I would want to know more about the impact of the type of care I would need to plan for. Does this new entrant mean I will be paying for community-based care when my current budgets are locked in secondary care-based clinics? How should I be planning for multiple new options in previously neglected disease areas?

If we move on to the launch stages, my payer self would be interested to know more about:

  • How to realise and track the healthcare utilisation savings promised through the models
  • When I can invest the ‘savings’ in other areas
  • Which services to deprioritise because patients on certain medications will be supported by pharma companies, and when these services need to be factored back into budgets because of patent expiry.

This blog has examined the three more traditional stakeholder groups, but as we think about future LCM, we need to also look at defining, categorising and considering emerging stakeholders, such as digital patient champions, new sources of insurance or funding, different health delivery models, good incentive-based health management and more.

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