Getting a product launch right is vital to a new medicine’s overall success throughout its lifecycle and a recent report by Deloitte highlighted a significant divergence between the most successful and least successful launches. Their research found that more than a third of all drugs undershot the initial market projections in their first year while just over a quarter exceeded expectations. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a product’s commercial trajectory at launch typically remains consistent throughout the product’s life- with 70 % of products that fall short of commercial expectations at launch continuing to do so.  Reasons for failure include a lack of product differentiation and the inability to express sufficient benefit to the decision-makers.

Increasingly, statisticians are able to play an integral role in drug launches. Indeed, while the importance of statistical input is more well known and established for clinical trials, it can be just as impactful in the commercialisation space. In this blog, we will highlight four ways that statistical input sets a product’s trajectory up for future success by ensuring that data is put into proper context for patients, physicians, and payers to enable them to make the most informed decisions. 

Delivering insights, not data

Insight, rather than reams of data, is essential for launch and commercialisation success. Statisticians play a vital role in ensuring that the risk/ benefit profile is communicated accurately and in the most suitable format for the end-user. An expert statistical team works hand in hand with you to understand first and foremost how the data is going to be used, rather than simply delivering endless TFLs. As in all communication, we must consider our audience. The recipient of the analysis – whether an HTA submission or a publication – will inform the delivery format. For example, for publications, your statistical team can provide you with high-quality visualisations and figures that can be used directly, without any additional manipulation. Such tools, backed up by robust and well-presented statistical analysis, will help your message cut through to decision-makers.

Understanding the market context

Related to the previous point, understanding the context and specific market challenges will ensure that the insights hit the mark. For example, accounting for different regional aspects and providing a distinct analysis package customized with local language subgroup analyses tables, for example for Germany, allows us to cover off any specific issues facing the product within that area. 

Anticipating analysis requirements

As is so often the case, forward-thinking is vital. Yet, all too often, what ought to be predictable events come as a surprise and leave commercialisation teams on the back foot, struggling to pull together the required analysis that addresses any given market situation. 

When preparing for launch, considering how your competition will respond to your data and evidence allows you to scenario plan and create the analysis to defend your product. Be aware of your product’s weaknesses and anticipate the expected questions rather than wait passively until the inevitable challenges. For example, if the product has a particular side effect, statisticians can help you prepare to elucidate the risk-benefit and explain the implications. If, on the other hand, you face a competitive threat to your product, being mindful of when the data is going to be announced enables advance preparation of comparative data to feed into a communications plan that highlights the differentiation. Having both indirect comparisons and associated training material ready for internal and external use, will give you a first mover advantage. 

Cutting through with graphics

A picture tells a thousand words, and easily consumable visualisations can ensure that analytics cut through. Whether communicating the product’s results at an international conference or providing tools for sales representatives, compelling visualisations created by statisticians tell a story about your product.

As a McKinsey report discussing winning launches noted, “Analytics is nothing without the ability to visualise complex data in an intuitive and actionable way. To leverage the full power of the data, it is critical to use the latest visualisation tools and adapt them to the channels that make sense for the person consuming them.” 

Many examples of great data visualisations showing typical data in healthcare can be found here.

In a recent blog, our Executive VP of Launch and Commercialisation Data Sciences, Alexander Schacht, described a memorable experience of seeing first-hand how a sales rep used a Kaplan-Meier plot in the field to showcase the superior risk-benefit of the product to a physician.  This is a particularly compelling example of how expert statistical communication comes into its own in high stakes settings. 

After all, modern-day statisticians are storytellers as well as quantitative experts. At Veramed, our expert statisticians and data scientists will help express the story of your new medicine through its launch and beyond to ensure it maximises its potential in the market. 

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