Almost a billion dollars to launch a drug?

Access to HCPs has declined steadily, with about 49 percent of Physicians in the U.S. placing restrictions on visits from pharma sales reps. But according to Fierce Pharma, “more than 8 in 10 (83%) of HCPs say the content they’re getting from pharma companies is more relevant now than before COVID-19, and they likely have more time to read it. Three-quarters said they’d seen fewer patients over the past year, and 61% said they have more available time than they did pre-pandemic”. You can launch a drug digitally but..

A study in 2020 estimated that the median cost of getting a new drug into the market was $985 million, and the average cost was $1.3 billion. One must wonder how much money is wasted on ineffective tactics. The answer would probably cause shock in the industry.

I had a lot of emails on yesterday’s post about launching a drug online (digitally). It seems there is a LOT of interest and questions.

At the basis of a digital launch is the understanding that fewer HCPs are seeing salespeople and more are using the internet for medical information. However, that doesn’t mean you simply transfer your marketing online. It means you engage online HCPs with content THEY want, not marketing blabber.

These are questions you need answered:

1ne: Where are our targeted physicians going online?

2wo: What are they communicating to each other around our category of medications?

3hree: Do we have the information they want to make decisions?

4our: Do we have a good enough relationship with our interactive agency to develop an in-depth website targeted towards HCPs, and do we have a publication plan for journals and online?

5ive: Do patients play a minimal role in choosing this medication?

6ix: Do we have medical liaisons who can answer HCP’s questions in real time?

Your objective, and need, is to have data on your new drug that excites physicians and gets them talking on websites like Sermo.

So what about DTC? New data that will be published soon indicate that DTC TV commercials have a more negligible effect on asking for an Rx. Your target audience is going online, yet DTC marketers are trying too hard to get their audience to come to them rather than taking the message where THEY ARE online.

Smaller biotechs don’t have $900 million to launch a drug; frankly, they don’t need that much. You CAN reach physicians digitally. Saying that “nobody has done this successfully” Is negative thinking. Yes, you need medical liaisons instead of salespeople, and yes, you need a publication plan, but at the heart of it you need to think like a doctor and ask, “what’s in it for me?”.