The Best Pharmaceutical Product Launch Strategy Tips in 2021

August 11, 2021

In the first year of a new drug launch, studies have shown that two-thirds fail sales expectations. Of those products that manage to make their first-year target, only 65% will continue market growth in their second year. For these reasons, an effective pharmaceutical launch plan is essential to the success of a drug launch


Increasing percentages on successful launches requires better quality strategies. Pharma Launch plans will need to be cutting edge, produce an original value proposition, and possess teams prepared to deal with any potential problems. 


Some of the main obstacles to overcome are:


  • Commercialization of new drugs
  • Precisely estimating the size of the market
  • Targeting prescribers
  • Hiring a successful sales team
  • Organizing marketing strategies


The Commercialization of New Drugs


Despite how innovative and compelling the science is behind your drug, it can still crash and burn at a pharmaceutical product launch. A considerable amount of emphasis must be placed on your commercialization strategy, as it will be paramount to bringing your drug onto the market. 


In addition to determining your patient population or market size, you also need to consider 


  • Price to value ratio
  • Additional indications or off-label uses
  • Access related factors
  • Market share 
  • Payer models
  • Formulating a plan that knits together all of these factors will increase your chances of success in the commercial market. 


Potential problems should be addressed in your pharmaceutical product launch strategy and thought out carefully. Working with specialist companies in “to market” commercialization will benefit you in more ways than one.  These include strategic decision-making, risk aversion, and shaping your product and brand level strategy.


Determining the Size of your Market and Understanding the Population


If you want to measure your success accurately, you must know your audience size. To determine your real and potential target markets, the patient population is critical. This is important not only from a regulatory and payer viewpoint but also from a clinical and commercial aspect. 


To create a successful launch strategy, you need a clear understanding of your patient population to help guide your decision-making regarding risk trade-offs. You can also gain invaluable insight into the fundamental value proposition (an easy-to-understand reason why customers should buy your product) and in-scenario planning (distinguishing a well-defined set of dilemmas, different “realities” of what could happen in the future). 


All of this information will allow you to move forward confidently in determining the most effective price point for your product.


Targeting Prescribers

Competition has intensified in the pharmaceutical industry. New drugs are never alone for very long, with competitor products popping up five to eight years after launch. Using phase III clinical trial data to set apart your product to health insurers, regulators and physicians has become increasingly difficult. You must market clinical and non-clinical benefits to consumers and physicians in order to ensure a successful pharma product launch


Drug prescribing habits are forever changing, creating challenges that companies can only meet by collecting extensive data. Partnering with these companies can help you compile detailed prescriber profiles essential to prescriber targeting. 


Once your profiles are collated, manufacturers can identify doctors that prescribe specific drugs or drug categories within particular cities, counties, states, or countries. 


Your data must include information on integrated delivery networks (IDNs), which now own over 60% of physician groups and practices. As a result, IDN’s are now setting the standard for treatment protocols, so it is vital to focus on them instead of just individual prescribers. 


It is evident that these profiles now dictate a launch strategy that considers how pharma companies approach physicians. In turn, profiles will help you recognize prescribing trends for a more successful pharma launch plan.


Pharma industry experts at market research company Infiniti have said that most physicians’ brand choices are influenced by how much support the pharma companies provide. More specifically, answers to medical questions, connecting physicians with peers, and patient identification.  


The Hiring of a Successful Sales Team

A modern, high-end pharma rep knows that improved technology and digital skillsets need to be addressed with an ever-growing network of prescribers. They understand that the data being delivered is fast and precise, improving the overall patient experience. Naturally, you will want to find and hire the best of the best reps available in the industry. By recruiting and training a top sales team, you’re well on your way to executing a successful pharmaceutical product launch strategy.

New Companies Can Use Three Primary Resources to Find Great Talent:


Work with a firm that offers PR services


Working with a firm that offers PR services means they can create a press release to attract top reps. They can advise you of the right timing and professionally announce a sales team opening. This is a strategic way to get noticed by highly motivated sales reps through their newsfeed and not just job listings.


Recruit highly experienced C-suite executives and sales directors


Highly qualified and experienced professionals will be well connected and use their network to recruit a team that can lead them to success. Motivated individuals that fall into this category are a worthwhile investment.  Hiring a sales team in this way can save you energy and time toward building a great team.


One other consideration when recruiting the best sales reps is to guarantee they will receive the support they need to succeed in the job. This means asking candidates what resources they will need and ensuring they get them. Give potential candidates confidence that they can do an outstanding job with plentiful resources, and you will have more success in recruiting a reliable team. 


Another key to recruiting top sales reps is committing to provide them with the support they need for success. Ensure you provide your team with the best possible technology, data, and analytics solutions available. 


Organization of Marketing Strategies


Due to the modern technology shift towards digital marketing trends, target-market approaches benefit small and large pharma companies. The problems of the past are almost behind you, with incremental innovation, copycat drugs, and top-selling tablets no longer helping in the new pharma climate. The pressure is now on to prove your brand can add value and improve patient experience and quality of life using reliable data.


Provide Detailed Information and Social Proof for Consumers


Pharmaceutical consumers want detailed information to make informed decisions about taking your pharma product. This information will also help them decide if they are willing to pay a premium price for the benefits. Consumers want social proof and will do their online research, looking to their peers and the wider community. Make sure you have a social media and content manager ready to help. Digital marketing through social media and similar channels is now vital to your marketing strategies. 


Planning your successful pharma product launch goes beyond meeting quality standards, regulatory compliance, and the usual benchmarks. Your launch is the vehicle in which your brand and product will reach your target market with a clear value proposition. 

Make Sure Your Marketing is Data-Driven


Companies must offer clear and concise data-driven insight for both physicians and consumers in the current market. Forming relationships with businesses that can provide you with fast, accurate, and current data will play a massive role in your product launch’s success. 


If you want to be ahead of the competition, the benefits of working with advanced pharma software companies will be ongoing for your organization. Mastering the use of data will serve you in your future launches, assist in your ongoing marketing strategies, and positively impact your product sales.


Pharmaceutical companies need many months to plan a new product launch. The launch itself should be planned and ready well before the launch date. As the big day approaches, social media campaigns should be prepared to cover all platforms and forums, building up conversations around the targeted disease. 


The Future of Pharma


The recent challenge for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies includes navigating the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. New pharma product introduction will be affected with regards to planning and decision making. You will not only deal with social distancing issues but stressed healthcare systems as well.

In the years to come, pharma market leaders will likely be those companies that leverage new technology to integrate in-depth customer insights, use technology to engage and identify those customers, and deliver value. Companies that anticipate what the pandemic may do to the evolving market and healthcare systems will be prepared and ready to deliver successful new products.


+360 Powered Possibilities reported that “EvaluatePharma’s World Preview 2019, Outlook to 2024, prescription drug sales are expected to reach $1.18 trillion by 2024, with oncology continuing to stay the main R&D focus area in the biopharma industry.”


Products also currently being developed in other therapeutic areas include musculoskeletal and cardiovascular. Despite many drugs expected to obtain FDA approval over the coming years, their market success is not assured. Your pharmaceutical product launch strategy will play an integral role in the future of your product’s success story. 


Work With SmartWorks


Don’t get stuck using a pharmaceutical product launch plan template. If you would like to learn more about how SmartWorks can help you develop a new and successful product launch event strategy that will increase sales, contact us today to speak with one of our experts!