4 Tips to Boost Your Pharma Drug Launch

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Life sciences, being such a competitive market, don’t leave much room for the overwhelming amount of products being launched every year. In fact, it is so fierce, that the very first few months of a drug launch are the ones setting the tone for the entire product’s success rates. That’s when managerial decisions become crucial in determining whether years of investment will go down the drain or succeed in making it through the launching threshold.

There’s no question every launch has its own set of success factors. However, based on a sample of 60 launches in late-stage development, within the dimensions of clinical differentiation and considering the perceived burden of the disease area in which the drug is to be launched, three major drug launch dynamics were identified by McKinsey:

So, how do we make sense of all these stats? And more importantly, how do we avoid making those big mistakes?

In this segment, we try to introduce lessons that must be learned in order for Pharma companies to avoid making the biggest mistakes in drug launches.

1.      Don’t focus all your attention on specific data – look at the bigger picture.

We tend to concentrate our attention on the pieces of data we think are most relevant


the drug launch. Most of the data


to do with sales operations and brand management, including data gathered for marketing campaigns, promotions, introduction to our customer base, targeting prospective prescribers and so on. However, we so often leave aside data regarding formulary position, payer contracts, competitive information, and procurement data, to name a few.

These factors give us a wider view of the data, helping us ask the right questions to really cover the whole picture, like:

  • How should we spend our marketing budget?
  • Where do we put more sales effort?
  • What can we expect when calling upon certain prescribers?
  • How much demand elasticity do we have?
  • Is there direct competition to my new drug or is it a new therapeutic?
  • What is the profile of physicians prescribing this type of drug?
  • Did my Managed Markets team establish the positioning of the new drug with Managed Care companies?
  • Is there concern for the new drug to bite off on our existing drugs’ market chunk?

These questions enable you to attain a deeper understanding of the market you are targeting.

In order to succeed in your drug launch, you must focus on the big picture, integrating and analyzing all possible data together to identify correlation and interdependency between the various factors.

2.      Don’t work in silos.

Different departments have various perspectives on the same piece of data. Although this is crucial for a stable and richer view of the state of affairs, don’t mix up the division of tasks with cutting off the information flow. This prevents the different departments from deriving their analytics from a single, coherent data source. Only cooperative communication between Sales and Brand Management, for example, can lead to a shared understanding of each other’s needs and concerns.

That’s why it’s vital to implement a cross-functional department view to attain a single version of the


so that you can get a clearer picture of the situation.

3.      Change at the speed of business.

Yesterday’s data is important, but if you’re not up-to-date with the latest figures and trends, you might lose relevance and produce outdated analyses hampering your launch. The healthcare industry

in particular

is constantly changing according to new medical research, new regulations, newly launched products, etc.

Make sure to always analyze the latest data on products, prescribers, payers, formulary status, the marketplace, the newest metrics and the most current, relevant KPI’s.

4.      Don’t use cookie-cutter analytical solutions.

It’s easiest to rely on existing data analytics solutions that served you in your previous projects, but it’s one of the most common mistakes you can make when addressing new launches. There’s no substitute for a fresh, on-the-target analysis tailored specifically for current purposes alone. There are so many factors and processes affecting your analytical needs; that’s why each launch carries with it a different set of characteristics to address the unique concerns of the specific target audience, and so each should have its own data analytics solutions. You need to look for an analytical solution that is flexible enough to be configured to your exact, particular needs.

These four drug launch tips can save you from developing irrational expectations, as well as from failing to deliver on them.

Statistics show how crucial the first stage in a drug launch is, predicting how the rest of the product’s shelf life is going to look like. The whole drug launch process can be paved with uncertainty, confusion


frustration; however, maintaining high quality, organized data with a dedicated analytical solution, which presents coherent, shared  information from the various departments involved, can not only keep your product thriving during the first few months of a drug launch, but also firmly establish your place in the market, for the years to come.


  1. Hemant Ahlawat, G. C. (2014, March). The secret of successful drug launches. Retrieved from: https://www.mckinsey.com/:https://www.mckinsey.com/insights/health_systems_and_services/the_secret_of_successful_drug_launches

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