In part 4 of our 6 part series, Optimizing the Pharma Brand Life Cycle At Every Phase, the new indication of an existing pharma product is introduced into the marketplace via the reliable, cost efficient email channel. Unique to email is its flexible role in pharma marketing: extending the brand, reaching more HCPs, and capturing market share.
Introducing a new indication of an existing drug poses many of the same challenges as launching a new drug. Pipelines and budgets are shrinking, payors have more influence than ever, and droves of data and media channels are now at people's fingertips. And that's not even considering the increasingly grueling and tortuous pathway to FDA approval.
With obstacles like these, how can pharmas position themselves for the most successful launch of a new indication? Strategic marketing that leverages the email channel lays the groundwork for new indications, ushering them into the market seamlessly.
Preparing for New Indications: Extend the Value of Your Sales Reps to Broaden Your Reach
Pharma reps are invaluable to the introduction of new indications. Considering that there is a shortage of reps in the field, you must extend the value of each sales rep. First, enlist rep-triggered email to allow reps to reach high-value healthcare professionals that are low-see or no-see, or are in vacant territories. Second, anticipate and address what your competitors are doing, by way of your reps, who are uniquely positioned to help you do that.
New Indications in a Competitive Environment: Pradaxa vs. Xarelto
As with a new drug launch, introducing a new indication of an existing drug requires an analytical look at the competitive environment. An example of how the competitive landscape can shift on the heels of a new indication is the battle between Pradaxa and Xarelto. For decades, the market didn't see a new anticoagulant drug. In spite of its many problems, Coumadin remained the gold standard.
Then, in 2010, Boehringer Ingelheim introduced Pradaxa, a new class of drug with similar indications. However, Pradaxa didn't require the restricted diet or regular blood tests that Coumadin did. As a result, Pradaxa captured significant market share because of its comparable efficacy and ease of use. A few years later, Johnson & Johnson introduced Xarelto, a drug with similar indications and side effects. At first, the two were neck and neck in the blood-thinner market.
Then, soon after its debut, Xarelto received an expanded indication for deep vein thrombosis, adding a considerable number of new patients that found value in including the drug in their therapy regimens. The new indication potentially added millions to the brand's sales revenue, which radically shifted the competitive environment. Johnson & Johnson then had to reexamine its original audience to determine if the new indication could reach an even broader patient base.
Dealing with New Indications: Is It Time to Reposition the Brand?
The next step is deciding whether you need to reposition the brand relative to the drug's competition. Consider market conditions, clinical guideline changes, and reimbursement challenges when making that call. Finally, think about targeting high-value hospital systems and group practices using the SuperfileSM, which contains a complete profile of millions of healthcare professionals, including nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and their associated organizations.
Introducing a new indication of a drug requires you to go through many of the same steps you took to launch the drug in the first place. Preparing for the indication with the sales force, understanding the competitive climate, and repositioning the brand appropriately will help ensure the indication's success.
Optimizing the Pharma Brand Life Cycle At Every Phase is a six-part blog series on how to market a product from market development to crisis management:
Part 1: Market Development: Begin To Tell Your Product Story
Part 2: Clinical Trials: While You're Waiting, Warm Up Your Market
Part 3: Hit The Ground Running: Optimizing Your Product Launch
Part 4: It's Not Groundhog Day: Amplifying New Indication Reach
Part 5: Don't Jump! A Patent Cliff Is Just Another Opportunity
Part 6: Crisis Management: Taking Control of Your Brand Message