Launching a drug during lockdowns

QUICK READ: While the emphasis within pharma has been to develop drugs to treat or prevent COVID-19 other new drugs are also being approved. It may be difficult to launch a drug to HCP’s during this time and a multichannel approach is needed.

New drugs are gaining FDA approval but how can pharma launch new drugs when most HCP’s are hard to find? The answer lies in a multichannel approach and the development of a system that allows companies to both learn from their mistakes and refine their targeting strategy.

Here are some things pharma can do to launch new drugs to HCP’s who aren’t in the office or not allowing salespeople.

1ne: The first step is to understand that you’re not able to reach the masses of HCP’s. You need to develop a top 100 target list based on your criteria such as top prescribers or influencers.

2wo: eMail. Email is a great way to target and reach SOME doctors but there is a good chance you’re going to get back an “out of office reply”.

3hree: Snail Mail – Yep, good old email mail is not dead IF you design a piece that makes them want to learn more. Challenge your agency to get creative and link it to online activities to measure the results.

4our: Online marketing partnerships – ePocrates and Medscape are great platforms for reaching HCP’s. Again, the challenge is going to be to ensure you communicate the key messages and to make it creative enough that makes them click to say “I want to know more”.

5ive: Virtual thought leader meeting – This is easier than it sounds because you first need to recruit attendees and then offer a closed platform that allows for interactions. We are working with a client and their IT department to launch a virtual meeting by region of the US. In addition to the thought leaders, MSL’s will be standing by to answer questions and follow up with docs.

6ix: Social media – Based on recent studies, an estimated 88% of physicians use the web and social media to look into pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical devices, whereas 76% of physicians are utilizing mobile devices in their place of practice. The key challenge again is measurement.

7even: Don’t forget patient groups – Some patient groups are very active on social media (i.e. MS patients) and know when new treatments are approved by the FDA. Don’t be afraid to talk to them via social media and direct them to your website.

Finally, try not to think of only one tactic but, rather measure them all against your brand objectives. It’s an integrated strategy, not one alone that’s going to make a drug launch successful.