The time interval up to 12 months following a drug launch is commonly referred to as the post-launch phase. As treatment paradigms and market influencers are continually in flux, and the patient voice becomes more pronounced and influential, there is a lot to accomplish during this period to ensure a product’s success.
Scientific exchange needs to expand to include discussions surrounding clinical practice guidelines and potential additional indications or areas of study
Educational training for all HCP audiences are critical to ensure proper usage and acceptance of the new therapeutic
Communicating with patients in a form they can easily access and understand is important in our patient-centric health ecosystem
At the heart of post-launch are the medical communication activities that will address these issues as well as support and guide a plan for a new drug’s success in the marketplace. Key priority areas to keep top of mind:
1. Revisit your communication plan
Although a comprehensive med comms plan may have been constructed pre-launch, once a product is on the market, it is vital to review and reassess the document. A good med comms plan is fluid and designed with life-cycle management in mind to accommodate changes such as new competitors, revamped/updated policies and guidelines, changes in demand, and new technological developments. A revised roadmap that includes a communication strategy and effective data dissemination plan is essential for getting the word out and educating your target audience.
2. Broaden Thought Leader Engagement
As in the pre-launch phase, it is critical to engage and continue to develop strong relationships with KOLs who are adept at giving advice and feedback regarding the marketplace and new therapeutics. The right individuals can provide insights into the treatment gaps that a new product may address, assist with guidance on inclusion in clinical practice guidelines, and suggest new areas of study for additional indications. Depending on the extent of their influence, these experts can impact a wide network of stakeholders and create an ongoing dialogue with their peers regarding a new therapeutic option.
Continuing to invest in initiatives that support these thought leaders through activities such as roundtable discussions, conference activities, and publications will help to strengthen the product’s position in the marketplace. Finally, with the increased use of social media platforms to disseminate scientific information, identifying up and coming thought leaders who are also digital opinion leaders (DOLs) is important to expand the reach of information across various platforms and channels.
3. Invest in Peer-to-Peer Education
Today’s physicians and advanced practitioners take into consideration numerous sources when deciding on which therapy to prescribe for specific patients. In addition to clinical studies, patient characteristics, and drug regimens, HCPs listen to the opinions and experience of their peers. Thought leader peers in particular have the ability to educate prescribers turning them into advocates who then often continue the dialogue with their community. Peer-to-peer education post-launch has many outlets including congresses, webinars, symposia, publications and speaker bureaus. Having a robust plan of various activities and channels is key, particularly in the first year after a drug is approved.
4. Seek to Establish a Presence at Key Congresses
Conferences play a central role in the dissemination of research data, the sharing of information and networking with HCPs. Gaining authority in a particular therapeutic area is difficult in many disease categories especially those crowded with numerous drugs vying for the HCPs attention. Establishing a data presence through submission of abstracts, posters and oral presentations, networking via activities such as Clinical Connections and Meet the Expert programs and conducting competitive analysis help to guide and enhance strategies for new therapeutics.
5. Keep Thinking Omni Channel
An HCPs’ information journey takes them across a number of digital channels. They are more active on social media than ever before, both on a personal and on a professional level. Identifying where your target HCP audience wants to be engaged, how they learn, and understanding what information is important for them to incorporate new treatments into their practice is essential. Adapting and personalizing the channel mix according to an individual’s behavior and providing a set of seamlessly integrated exposures directed at these preferences creates a unified and consistent experience.
6. Don’t Forget the Patient
The patient voice has risen as one of the major stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem. In past years, patients and their care partners relied predominantly on their health care practitioners to answer their medical questions or provide additional information. With today’s technology, patients have many avenues where they can search for these answers. Identifying the key channels where patients go most often to learn about symptoms, drugs, and therapies, as well as finding the forums where they share their experiences is pivotal. Once located, developing patient centric information in more of an emotional or empathetic tone will help to build trust while educating this key audience.
It’s also important to realize that as patients are being required to pay more for their care upfront in the form of higher deductibles, this increased cost burden has led to being more prudent with how their healthcare dollars are spent. This is especially true when you consider a recent survey that found nearly half of adults in the United States find it difficult to afford their healthcare costs. Understanding the patient experience coupled with developing patient centric information adds to the trust building that brands are looking to develop.
So there you have it. Focusing your med comms efforts in these six areas will increase connectivity with your target audience and present opportunities to engage in a consistent dialogue, particularly important during the first year a product is on the market. Setting measurable concrete goals will help guide your success in getting new product information in front of the right individuals. Ongoing monitoring will ensure product messages and the clinical promise remain consistent across all stakeholders and initiatives, ultimately helping to enable a Better Healthcare Tomorrow™.
At SAKS Health our team is skilled in handling post-launch activities to help ensure that your first year post-launch sets the foundation for long-term success. Reach out to us today to learn more.
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