The importance of solid planning when it comes to product lifecycle management is gaining more attention among specialty pharma, biotech, drug-delivery companies and even generic players. Big Pharma has long recognized that new drug development is a long, costly and risky process with a low success rate. Branded drug-makers now see it a necessity to protect their market position long before their products come off patent. Pharmaceutical Technology spoke to Neal Hansen, managing director of the consulting firm Hansen Strategy, about key considerations in product lifecycle management (LCM).
PharmTech: What challenges do pharmaceutical companies face in managing the lifecycles of their products?
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Hansen: Pharmaceutical companies classically face three core challenges:
PharmTech: What steps must a company take to optimize product lifecycles, especially in a market where generic drug competition is strong and payers are driving for wider adoption of generics due to financial constraints?
Hansen: Preparing for and surviving through patent expiry is a key challenge for pharma given that generic drugs are a necessary reality. Branded players must accept that generics are a valuable tool to support healthcare budget management in a constrained financial environment. Without a healthy generics market, there would be no budget room for innovation, which would lead to an even greater challenge than is already faced by new drug launches.
The real impact on LCM strategies has been to make the pharmaceutical industry more ‘honest’ and patient centric. Today, if a LCM strategy does not bring real tangible benefits to patients, it will not succeed. For example, it is not sufficient to bring novelty with a formulation or combination and expect a premium price or a high switch rate. In countries such as Germany with an aggressive pricing and reimbursement environment, this approach could actually lead to a fall in sales as the novel launch could trigger an overall price review. If a new formulation is brought to market, it must meet an unmet need, whether in a broad or niche population, and must be supported by data to prove value. Such innovations can then support brand success through patent expiry and beyond.