Historically, HCPs made treatment selections almost exclusively based on clinical rationale. In today’s marketplace, a product’s clinical profile is still important, but the influence of drug access for a brand has become a significant factor. Most experts predict that this factor will become even more important in the future as payers look to further manage utilization of products. It can be very frustrating for HCPs and their office staff to deal with call-backs from pharmacies and drug plan representatives, and they frequently need to switch patients to an alternative product. A further complication is that patients in a given medical practice are covered by many different drug plans that are not necessarily identical in their access for a given product. Understandably, HCPs are reluctant to continue to prescribe products with poor access due to these frustrations, meaning that access has a huge impact on the commercial success of pharma/biotech products in the marketplace.
Payers are utilizing tools such as prior authorizations and step edits to impose restrictions on drug usage. At the same time, pharma and biotech are employing strategies such as co-pay cards and insurance support hotlines, so it’s critical for marketers to ensure that target HCPs have the most accurate information regarding access for their products.
Traditionally, most data on drug access and reimbursement provided by industry has been national-level, such as percentage of lives or percentage of drug plans that cover the product. Access is typically not consistent on a national basis, so this type of information is of minimal relevance and importance to most HCPs for their individual practices. For example, an HCP in Minneapolis is much more interested in product access data for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota than in national coverage data. Customized tools have been developed to provide more localized access data, but we understand that these tools are not widely used in clinical practice.
Marketers recognize that it is critical to allocate promotional spend on individual HCPs based on their drug access, but often don’t have the ability to develop these types of personalized marketing campaigns. BioPharm Communications has recognized this as a huge unmet need and has secured drug coverage data that allow us to determine access information down to the individual zip code level. This enables us to then determine how to best identify which HCPs to target based on drug access in their practice, and how to allocate an appropriate amount of promotional spend on individual HCPs. With some of our pharma/biotech customers, we have been able to integrate their prescribing data by payer into our database and drill down to the individual HCP practice level.
We were asked to conduct a pull-through market analysis to evaluate overall impact of access on share for our customer’s product, and then determine recommended spending for each segment and optimal product messaging for each HCP segment.
Based on information from our database, target HCPs were placed into one of 4 segments:
We then recommended data-based spending levels for each segment, along with product messaging that focused on the access and/or clinical messages that were most strategically relevant to HCPs within each of these 4 segments. As a result of this data-driven approach to campaign design, engagement rates to date with this campaign have significantly exceeded industry benchmarks. At the same time, pharma and biotech are employing strategies such as co-pay cards and insurance support hotlines, so it’s critical for marketers to ensure that target HCPs have the most accurate information regarding access for their products.