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  • Travis Jones

How Pharmaceutical Companies Deliver Successful Patient Access Launch Strategies for Biosimilars

When it comes to successfully launching patient access strategies for a new biosimilar, how much does the size of the pharmaceutical organization matter?
Can smaller pharmaceutical companies launch Patient Access Programs for Biosimilars?

How Pharmaceutical Companies of all Sizes Deliver Successful Patient Access Launch Strategies for Biosimilars

When it comes to successfully launching patient access strategies for a new biosimilar, how much does the size of the organization matter?

Honestly, it depends.

Large organizations typically have greater resources to plan and manage a biosimilar launch than small and midsize organizations do. However, that doesn't diminish the importance of a robust patient access strategy, and it shouldn't limit a company's ability to successfully launch a biosimilar.

Research tells us that a substantial wave of small to midsize pharmaceutical and biotech companies bringing biosimilar products to market is on the horizon, with 41 smaller manufacturers developing 87% of the biosimilars in the pipeline.* That creates an industry situation where "borrowed" resources and experience can be very meaningful.

As consultants, part of our job is to provide the smaller teams at pharma and biotech companies with the knowledge, experience, and connections needed to compete on a global scale. We guide our customers through multiple launches each year and have a deep understanding of current and historical market strategies, and what it takes to deliver an optimal patient and provider experience.

When clients ask us how they can best prepare for a successful launch of patient access strategies for a new biosimilar, we advise them to focus on these six key areas.

1. Enrollment and support – Whenever a biosimilar product is launching, there is already at least one major competitor (the reference product) and potentially additional biosimilars as well, making a flawless enrollment and support approach essential from the start. Considerations here include enrollment channels, optimizing digital engagement, defining requirements for enrollment, the chain of custody, etc. Each of these elements needs to work in harmony, and all stakeholders (including your customers) need to understand exactly what is expected of them. Misalignment internally or externally will present roadblocks and can negatively impact or even delay your launch.

2. Communication Channels – Once a patient enrolls, how will they communicate with the HUB? Will you use a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) model or Care Team approach? Will you prioritize digital engagement? How will you ensure your vendors are all telling customers the same thing? Does your website help to educate stakeholders on what resources are available? It's vital to pull all of these considerations into the fold when developing a succinct and effective communication strategy. We often recommend market research to help understand precisely what patients and providers need and how they like to be engaged.

3. Reimbursement and Coverage Support – What support offerings do your customers need to ensure they can navigate the reimbursement portion of the journey? This will vary greatly depending on payer decisions, specialty pharmacy involvement, and patient populations. An in-depth understanding of the potential hurdles for each unique patient journey is needed. Any biosimilar product will likely require increased investigative support to understand a quickly changing payer landscape. Analog research on similar or related products can be informative when understanding common reimbursement tactics and supplementing decision-making confidence.

4. Financial Assistance – A well-defined financial assistance strategy helps provide a consistent experience for patients while limiting the need to handle escalated situations that may create unnecessary risks for your patient access program. At the very least, the strategy needs to spell out how the program will identify patients who could need available assistance and those who no longer qualify.

5. Education – Do you need non-English speaking resources? Do patients need to learn how to inject the medication? Should that educational experience be in person? Do patients understand what a biosimilar is and what the key differences are to a reference product? Providing education to meet different patients where they are in their journey will be a crucial step.

6. Ongoing Support and Adherence – Because no two patients or programs are the same, adherence solutions should be customized. Unwanted outreach and communication can result in a negative customer experience while wasting valuable financial resources that could be allocated more effectively. For Biosimilars, it will be critical to find balance in building trust and confidence in a new treatment while eliminating any doubts that may affect adherence.

Overlooking or under-prioritizing any of these six steps can lead to underperformance of patient access programs that can greatly impact launch success. That is where an extensive, informed project plan and the right consultants can make all the difference.

At Archbow, we're focused on the design, build, and optimization of patient access programs. Our experts have decades of experience launching specialty products, working for manufacturers, service providers, and consulting. Contact us today to learn more about our approach for Biosimilars and how we can help you successfully launch your next product.

Travis Jones joined Team Archbow in 2021. He brings a unique combination of perspective and experience to Archbow's clients. His patient services experience includes multiple CRM builds, program launches, HUB transitions, and management of support programs for numerous blockbuster products. Learn more about Travis here.

Click here to read our latest patient services whitepaper, Six Strategies for Optimizing Cross-Functional Collaboration Between Compliance and Access.

*Source: "Biosimilars in the United States 2020–2024: Competition, Savings, and Sustainability", IQUVIA Institute Report 29 Sep 2020. Web. 4 Jun 2021.


Archbow Consulting helps pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the USA and Europe design, build, and optimize product distribution and patient access strategies. Archbow was founded by industry veterans to meet a need in the marketplace for consulting options that offer diverse real-world experience, are able to leverage deep connections across the industry, and can also provide actionable strategic guidance. We invite you to learn more about our team, services, and clients’ success, and connect with us via email, LinkedIn, Twitter or subscribing to this blog which you can do below.

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