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Changing Nature of Pharmaceutical Product Launches

Words by Ross MacPhee

Specialised medicines are, and will continue to be, a major source of commercial focus for the pharmaceutical industry. Daily newsfeeds are full of the latest mind-bending advancements in ‘the war on cancer’ to name but one topic; as such it feels a very exciting time for our industry, for medicine and patients alike. A recent report from Evaluate Pharma reinforces this point by identifying that oncology is the leading market segment for our industry with CAGR forecasted at 12% between 2017 – 2024; which would mean global sales in the order of $233Bn at the end of this period! In addition, with a potential 5212 drugs in the oncology development pipeline alone, it’s safe to conclude that competition and market dynamics in specialised medicines are only going to hot up. Other leading areas of investment include biotechnology, neurology, anti-infectives as well as metabolic conditions. So, with all this investment and activity in specialised medicines, what might be some of the considerations pharma organisations should be thinking about as a result of greater competition, and generally more dynamic markets? Here are three for starters:

  1. VOLATILITY AND RISK Significant R&D pipelines ultimately mean more products entering the market and with new data continuously influencing their health technology assessments (HTAs), competition is only going to increase and in turn lead to greater market volatility. The result could mean the fortunes of some products literally change overnight, for good or bad. Anticipating and planning for these dynamics will require appropriate resource flexibility, to enable speed in appropriate resource deployment, as well as managing risk and liability exposures.
  2. THE RIGHT SKILLS AND FLEXIBILITY Whether it’s market access, developing professional relations through medical liaison, contract managers leading tendering opportunities, nurses supporting treatment management or educating peers, or Key Account Managers navigating the sales process, the variety of skills required for successful commercialisation of specialised medicines can be wide. Successful organisations will need to ensure they continue to drive their competitive advantage through sourcing the right talent, at the same time as promptly varying resource levels in line with demands across the product’s lifecycle – speed and flexibility will be key.
  3. NEW TALENT AND RESOURCE INVESTMENT In a constantly growing market, there is a risk that talent demand could outpace the number of suitably experienced professionals. Therefore, as an industry, we need to keep ahead of this potential challenge and consider carefully where new talent will come from?

What are the solutions? Having successfully deployed and integrated several specialist outsourced sales teams over the past 12 months in disease areas such as oncology, mental health and respiratory, at CHASE we acknowledge an increasing demand for outsourcing in specialist areas. We believe that some of the outsourcing principles that have served primary care so well will increasingly be applied to the specialist arena. If you’re interested to explore how CHASE’s industry leading outsourcing solutions can support your organisation, please get in touch.