disrupted commercial strategies


The turbulence brought on by COVID-19 has disrupted commercial strategies. Companies have been experiencing launch delays, access barriers, demand and supply disruption, salesforce adjustment and suspended in-person promotion. HCPs have disruption in patient visits, treatments and procedures, medicine shortages and remote detailing. Payers experience loss in their available price premiums, delayed access and reimbursement timelines, Medicaid demand fluctuations and increased mail-order utilization. Have these disrupted commercial strategies actually led to improvements in health care?

Sales Operation Design

“The number of in-person contacts between HCPs and pharma sales reps was 70% lower in September 2020 than before the pandemic,” says a report from McKinsey. The days of casual appointments and conversations in the hallway is over. Engagement between HCPs and Sales Reps needs to be scheduled and an agenda shared in advance. A rep needs to have something new and compelling to discuss or risks that the meeting might never even be scheduled. Data collection of individual physician’s preferences for interaction frequency and collection of claims data can offer innovative approaches that yield results. Agile ways of working are a necessity. Tailoring each visit to the specific HCPs needs will fine-tune targeting and garner results that can be used elsewhere. Centralized content creation has to be responsive, streamlined and simplified.

Marketing Mix for Managed Care

Marketing Mix models have been telling the pharmaceutical industry for 25 years their promotional activity effectiveness and optimizing marketing budgets. Incorporating this marketing mix expertise into managed care dynamics can improve pharma companies promotion effectiveness in this growing market disrupted by COVID-19 job losses and telemedicine.

Rare Disease Markets

Approximately 7,000 classified rare diseases exist, most without FDA-approved treatments due to patient populations of less than 200,000. Many rare disease marketers allocate higher-than-necessary promotional spending towards HCPs who have never written a script for their product. Commercial analytics teams can assess rare disease targeting challenges to engage the right HCPs productively.

Innovative Patient Channels

In a September 2020 survey of 300 doctors 74% reported noticing their patients delaying necessary care. Responsive companies stepped in to facilitate interactions with HCPs through telemedicine diagnostic platforms in app form or through the integration of web, text and voice. Therapies that require attendance at a hospital or clinic have been facilitated through “at home” infusion or other alternative, less populated sites. All potential long-term improvements that should survive COVID-19.

COVID-19 enabled or even required experimenting with new approaches and innovations that will they disrupted commercial strategies they should survive the end of the pandemic and improve health care for pharma companies, HCPs and payers.

Interested in being a part of the pharmaceutical industry? Contact Smith Hanley Associates’ Commercial Analytics Recruiter, Eda Zullo at ezullo@smithhanley.com.


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