Market conditioning for a naive drug

InsightKEY TAKEAWAY: Market conditioning for new drugs to treat new health problems need to do more than focus on the drug; they need to establish a clear need that focuses on overall patient outcomes and show a clear defined need.

When I was on the Sarafem launch team, a drug to treat a severe form of PMS known as PMDD, physicians were very skeptical that PMDD was in a fact a health problem for women.  However, rather than talk about the drug to treat PMDD we focused on the health problem by sharing what it was like to have PMDD from a woman’s perspective.  It opened some eyes.

Shire is trying to convince physicians that BED, binge eating disorder, is a real problem for some women but is it really a health issue?  Rather than focus strictly on statistics they need to share actual patient stories with HCP’s and take it a step further to show that BED could in fact affect a patient’s health down the road which in turn could lead to more costly health interventions.


What I have learned in research is that doctors are becoming more skeptical of pharma clinical trials and information in detail aids.  This is especially true for naive drugs.  Doctors want to know more than just data and clinical trial information and a good way might be to share actual patient stories.  “Put a face” on the data and let doctors know how a naive condition is in fact a REAL health condition affecting REAL people.

Market conditioning for a naive product begins early even before the product is approved by the FDA.  Raising awareness is essential followed by creating a need and demonstrating the solution.  However, your audience is going to be skeptical because trust in big pharma is low. If you show that real people have a real unmet need, however, you can begin to market by putting patients first.