The goal in a pre-launch environment is to shape the market to be more receptive for a new treatment. The focus is to build awareness of disease information and clinical data while trying to change providers’ attitudes. However, this approach often falls short of the potential to shape providers’ perceptions and address their knowledge and skills—aspects that are more likely to actually change behavior.
Brand marketers are assuming that providers will see the data and immediately know how it could change outcomes for their patients. But this evidence may not be compelling for providers. They often face challenges, such as information overload or prescribing inertia, that may prevent them from interpreting new data effectively. In addition, this information often contradicts how providers think and practice.
What can pharma do to better shape the pre-launch market?
The ultimate goals are to prepare providers to use a new product, achieve better outcomes for patients, and accelerate brand success. These can be accomplished by moving past traditional marketing approaches and addressing providers’ skills and motivations. Even before the drug is available, pharma can offer evidence-based behavioral strategies that are designed to enhance knowledge, augment skills, and drive motivation to change behavior. This kind of specialized approach is more likely to result in improved skills and a new ability for providers to address whole patient needs. Ultimately, it will enhance patient outcomes with a new treatment.
In order to establish pre-launch value, consider these questions.
- Are there nonclinical needs of patients that must be addressed before a better outcome can be obtained?
- Are there opportunities to optimize the conversation between providers and patients?
- How can providers help their patients better cope until a new therapy is available?
These questions identify potential challenges or opportunities. They are barriers to successful use and adoption of a new product or a market-shaping strategy that will help accelerate uptake and lead to product success at launch.
In a pre-launch environment, brands may benefit from providers building patient-centered communication skills. Evidence-based strategies, including motivational interviewing and shared-decision making, can uncover patient challenges and help patients to prepare for treatment.
How can pre-launch communications impact the patient?
The time before launch is a prime opportunity for pharma companies to address whole patient needs—that is, clinical and psychosocial needs. Decades of behavioral science have proven the benefits of meeting whole patient needs. When the psychosocial needs of patients are addressed, they have a better experience on therapy, and they are more likely to continue medication adherence. The patients also have more engaging conversations with the healthcare team, take a more active role in managing their condition, and maintain better outcomes.
What is the benefit for patients and the brand?
Evidence-based approaches are key to successfully preparing healthcare providers to obtain better outcomes with a new treatment. These approaches are fundamentally different because they engage healthcare providers in a way that actively shifts attitudes, builds skills, and changes behavior.
Traditionally, pre-launch strategies only shape perceptions. However brands can do more in advance of a drug launch to actively change the way healthcare providers behave rather than just changing how they think.
These evidence-based strategies strengthen the connection between the provider, patient, and the brand. Enhancing communication skills and the ability to identify individual needs will build and reinforce the trust that patients have with their providers. Once the drug launches, there’s a greater likelihood of the product being adopted.
Traditional marketing approaches that rely on messaging to promote patient adoption and adherence to therapy are not enough to drive real-world impact. In order to address client challenges, change provider behavior, and accelerate outcomes, a specialized approach is needed.