Imagine you’re exploring unknown realms. Sometimes it feels like one long, uphill slog. You might even consider giving up. But, once you reach the top, a wide plain opens up, so you can take off running.
Introducing a new pharma product to market can feel a lot like that uphill climb. You may struggle to generate awareness, build brand loyalty, and consolidate market share. Then, suddenly, one day, you’re in the clear. Yours is the product of choice and sales soar. Until your patent expires.
As we all know, when a branded drug hits the patent wall, the manufacturer loses exclusive rights to its production. Generics quickly flood the market; the manufacturer’s market share plummets, sometimes in days. The fall is inevitable, but you can limit the damage.
Pack a Parachute
If you were hiking and knew you were approaching a real, earth-and-rock cliff, you’d take some precautions, right? You’d keep a sharp eye out for the edge. You’d brainstorm ways to get down safely. If you’re a realist – or a Boy Scout – you might even pack a parachute.
Why not approach an impending patent cliff the same way? A parachute is simply a device used to slow the motion of an object through the atmosphere. With some foresight, your marketing plan can function the same way by slowing the fall of your market share. Here’s how:
- Unless you’re a paratrooper, you can’t safely parachute from less than about 2,500 feet. Likewise, if you want a safe market landing after loss of exclusivity, you need to drive your market share as high as possible as you approach the cliff.
- This isn’t a stealth mission, so be sure to choose a brightly colored chute. In other words, amplify your media presence in order to delay – or better yet, prevent – customers from switching to generics.
To gain enough altitude for parachuting, you can drive up market share in a number of ways:
- Engage with key stakeholders through email. A rep-triggered program can be especially effective.
- Continue to build relationships with prescribers. Promote ongoing communication and brand engagement through a structured email campaign.
- Maintain a “value-based” dialogue prior to and leading up to the loss of your patent. Convey that your brand’s value isn’t simply in the drug formulation, but also in its ability to provide an effective – and affordable – continuum of patient care].
Bumping up your market presence should include increasing media placements. You can use ads on TV or in consumer magazines to strengthen the association between your branded product and the specific medical condition it relieves. A well-designed campaign can effectively raise awareness among new customers, while also solidifying relationships with existing clients.
After launching your ads, be sure to follow up with an email campaign to the relevant HCPs. By offering copay cards and other discounts that will keep the cost of your name-brand product close to the generic cost, you can retain customer loyalty and control your patent-cliff parachute jump. Here’s to blue skies!