We are well into Q2 now. You and your teams have likely already started the first of your planning sessions for the year. Market research, competitive landscape, market access, payer landscape, and critical success factors for your portfolio are all on the agenda. Everyone’s at the table – sales teams, medical, marketing, agency partners, and consultants. But who’s missing? If your patient access partner isn’t in the room, it might be because you’re still thinking of them as a regular vendor.
There could very well be good reason for that. Oftentimes, vendors are simply selling their wares instead of taking into account your actual brand history and performance. They are going to hawk their newest product as a solution for any one of your brand challenges, potentially without digging into the source of the problem in the first place. This is where a true partner would come in handy.
Here are a few brand planning scenarios that show what a vendor might say – and how a partner could help you achieve your goals.
Our competition is moving to a lower target value. Our reps are worrying that physicians will start prescribing their drug.
A vendor might say: You should match their target value or attempt to beat their price to drive share growth.
A partner would say: Will matching target value or beating price ultimately blow your budget? How will the competition respond? Are we just instigating a price war, and is price really the biggest value of your brand? What is the actual cost of matching competitor pricing, and how much growth would we need to justify the change? Yes, it might make sense to match – but let’s do the research first to make sure it’s worthwhile and it’s not just going to erode the market.
We saw significantly higher abandonment in Q1 from deductible patients. How do we keep them on therapy and decrease those reversals?
A vendor might say: OK, deductible patients need more assistance than they were given, so we should make sure we give more money to all patients by increasing the max benefit.
A partner would say: First, let’s make sure those patients are the right patients for the brand. Would increasing the max benefit be the best way to support them? What are our alternatives to keep them on therapy? Maybe we should look at a patient engagement program, or adjust the target to change throughout the course of the year as they go through their deductible. Can we identify the patients most likely to get through their deductibles vs. those that won’t to ensure everyone gets the best benefit design for them?
We are seeing more plan restrictions and managed care organizations are threatening us with formulary changes.
A vendor might say: Let’s talk to the consultants in the room who likely have an answer to that question.
A partner would say: We should take a look at your historical copay program to get a sense of what your real access environment looks like. Let’s analyze your claims and the overlap between patient access and market access rebates. Are we paying rebates on copay claims? Should we be, if we don’t have access? Let’s dig into the copay program to see what we can learn to better plan for changes that may come.
We are launching a new brand and don’t have any data on copay cards. We are just going to copy the design of our other brands.
A vendor might say: Sounds great, we will mirror the business rules of your other programs.
A partner would say: Let’s look at the competitive landscape of your new brand, are your other brands good analogs? What are your brand goals and challenges for launch? How can your copay card help to overcome formulary blocks while payers are evaluating the drug? What do you expect to happen in the year after launch, and how can we prepare?
As a brand, one of the most important tools in your arsenal is your copay program. You should be working with a partner that understands your business as well as the changing market landscape to help inform your decisions, particularly during this imperative time of year.