It’s getting harder to launch a new drug to physicians

SUMMARY: Physicians are tired and overwhelmed with medical information on new drugs. They don’t have the time to sit in the office and search for more information, and they feel that pharma is giving them “too much” information.

An exciting development presented itself. A client launched an Oncology drug based on extensive research with physicians, but the results were not that good during a post-launch evaluation. We found that some of the toppling findings weren’t relevant. What happened?

Here are some of the findings we uncovered in some follow-up research:

1ne: Physicians are overwhelmed with pharma messages right now and don’t remember key brand attributes.

2wo: In qualitative research, many said what they thought the client wanted to hear and did not get into the real challenges of prescribing a new drug.

3hree: It’s getting harder to “break through the clutter” with a critical message.

4our: There are too many messages associated with new drugs. Marketers should focus on one or two and reinforce them in all channels.

5ive: Smaller biotech companies need to hire people who have established relationships with physicians. If they don’t, there is a strong probability they won’t be able to reach targeted physicians with messages.

6ix: Identifying key influencers and thought leaders is getting harder. Some are already overburdened; others are doing it just for the money.\

Finally, what we learned is that HCPs are “burned out.” It’s been a very tough two years with COVID, and they have been dealing with a lot of issues that, they feel, pharma has largely ignored.

As a couple of doctors told us, “there is so much information trying to get to us that it’s getting harder to filter out what I need and what’s just typical marketing talk.”

The key lesson is that a multichannel approach is essential but that the message(s) need to be direct and relevant to specific HCP targets. It’s a huge challenge.