A guide to global product launch success for small & midsize pharma
Working in the pharmaceutical industry today means being a player in the global healthcare marketplace. Large pharma companies – based in the U.S. or elsewhere – have teams dedicated to maximizing revenue opportunities worldwide. That means people with expertise in key markets are positioning new brands for successful launches with physicians, patients, and payers.
At small and midsize companies, the story is often quite different. The resources of global launch teams are much smaller, and they tend to have less experience in a range of markets. However, that doesn’t diminish the importance of a global commercial plan, and it shouldn’t limit a company’s ability to sell their product outside the U.S.
A big part of our job as consultants is to provide the small or one-person teams at pharma and biotech companies with the knowledge, experience, and connections needed to compete on a global scale. We travel internationally often to evaluate potential partners for our clients and to better understand the relationships and cultural nuances that can determine a product’s commercial success.
During a recent trip made on behalf of a small biotech company, we met with everyone from KOLs to government agencies to distributors. A hundred handshakes, six countries, five planes, 13 trains, and more than a few excellent meals later, it was clear to us that every small and midsize pharma company should know these basics when considering a global strategy in the current landscape:
1. Pre-approval sales can increase revenues for your brand. Expanded Access Programs (EAPs) and Named Patient Programs (NPPs) have the potential to drive significant sales of your product globally while regulatory approvals are still pending. With the right partners and vendors, these programs can be implemented quickly and efficiently. In these programs, your product can be sold, rather than donated, and be an added boost to your top line.
With these strategies, there’s no need for small and midsize companies to reinvent the wheel. Archbow consultants have successfully implemented global EAP and NPP programs for other products.We’re connected to the vendors, partners, and distribution networks you need to make a meaningful impact with minimal effort.
2. Focus on what you know best (the U.S.) and let trusted partners sell your product elsewhere. It’s never enviable to be the one person who has to figure out how to sell to the whole world. So don’t be that person. There is an abundance of qualified, trustworthy partners globally who can obtain market authorization for your product and drive revenue for you using their local market knowledge, expertise, and connections.
You don’t need to identify and vet those partners by yourself either. Archbow consultants have been meeting with global partners for years.We actively work to connect clients to the organizations best suited to contribute to their success.
3. One size never fits all. Markets like the EU may seem like an organized, singular block, but don’t be fooled. Each country has its own unique regulatory requirements and healthcare market nuances.
The same goes for Asia, Latin American, the Middle East, and Africa. Bottom line: accents and culture matter. Finding the right local partners will be essential to your product’s success.
4. Patient support and education are in demand everywhere. While the U.S. market may boast more HUBs and other patient support programs than other countries today, the demand for those services is on the rise globally for both medicines and devices.
Outside the U.S., patient support and education will look and operate differently, depending on local regulations. But when you leverage local experience and cultural awareness, your service offering can be just as rewarding as a patient-centered program in the States.
5. Start thinking about your global commercial strategy at the same time U.S. commercial planning is underway. We’ve seen too many companies over the years fall into the trap of thinking that they’ll “figure out their U.S. plan first, and worry about the rest of the world later.”
Unfortunately, by the time they got around to addressing their global commercial responsibilities, some of the best-defined market opportunities had already evaporated.
As demand grows for global strategies that positively impact the bottom line, we’re all being called upon to expand how we approach commercialization. Leveraging Archbow Consulting’s legwork and experience, small teams (even teams of one!) at pharma and biotech companies are delivering successful ROW strategies without diverting attention away from U.S. priorities.
In our continuing effort to best cater to our pharma and biotech clients seeking guidance and assistance commercializing products in Europe, Archbow Consulting has opened an office in Zug, Switzerland. Learn more about that initiative here.
Whether you’re just initiating your global launch plans or you’ve been tasked with maximizing revenue in ex-U.S. markets, Archbow can help. Contact us today to get started.
All photography by Douglas Bock and Kevin Cast.