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How a pharmaceutical company determined the best distribution strategy for a challenging oncology product.


A pharmaceutical company was preparing for upcoming launch of an injectable oncology product with an ultra-orphan patient population, rare drug pricing, complex drug preparation, with a very concentrated hospital base

The client requested Archbow’s assistance in creating the most appropriate distribution model using a limited or exclusive network of specialty distributors while utilizing their parent company’s existing 3PL relationship

The client was interested in understanding how specialty distributors can provide specific services like consignment within the hospital, co-shipping materials within an ambient shipper, ensuring a spare drug and kit would be available should drug preparation fail, and best practices for returns policies.

Archbow completed an initial intake with the client to discuss the full complexity of the product, review all existing commercial plans, and understand all known aspects of the patient journey to treatment

Model options reviewed included: Specialty Buy and Bill model with limited or exclusive network, Specialty Drop Ship model, and a Direct Ship model (no distributors)

Pros and cons of each launch strategy were reviewed to help client understand the proper balance of access and control

Archbow consulted with industry providers on consignment, shipping capabilities, exclusive distributor acceptance, and how hospitals may view the client’s drug from an economic standpoint



Archbow created a detailed recommendation that included:

  • Different launch models with pros and cons of each​

  • Insight into distributor consignment services, hospital economics given high cost, and distributor shipping capabilities​

  • Key considerations and analogs for potential return policy​

  • Insights into the specialty distributors and possible distribution agreement economic considerations​

  • RFP recommendations to determine specialty distributor market share of target hospitals

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