Pharmaceutical Business Strategy & Forecasting: Creating Insights from Market Research
Received Date: May 17, 2023; Published Date: May 26, 2023
The pharma sector has transformed significantly, with most pharma and biotech companies now focusing on launching new products, developing innovative technologies, virtual clinical trials and rapid digitalization, which are proving to be quite challenging. To develop a revenue forecast for a new pharmaceutical product in development, primary research is conducted in which physician respondents are shown a target product profile and asked how much they would use “Product X” if it was available. Everyone who has experience doing physician market research will be quick to point out that one must apply a standard research “haircut” to account for bias. Take 50% off of physician-reported responses, they say. Or potentially chop based on a top two box score. Either way, it’s acknowledged common practice, everyone does it. But an arbitrary standard haircut may not be appropriate for every market research study. Physicians have a general idea of their historical prescribing but asking them to estimate future prescribing share without putting their responses in the context of a structured process may result in a significant margin of error. Different biases may cause physicians to over-estimate stated prescribing share (HCP-Reported Adoption), particularly for new novel products.
Physician responses also typically do not account for other stakeholders such as payers and patients. Payers may manage access to certain products by implementing restrictions or placing them on non-preferred tiers (Payer Access). Patients are bearing an increased burden of pharmaceutical costs, as more and more patients are enrolled in high-deductible or high out-of-pocket maximum insurance plans. Determining patient “fill rates”, or what percentage of patients pick up the prescription at the pharmacy, is key – particularly in conditions with very expensive or non-covered therapies (Patient Fill Rates) Lastly, because of patient volume or previous prescribing behavior, some physicians may never be detailed on a new product, and therefore should be accounted for differently in terms of commercial forecasting (Manufacturer Detailing Reach Adjustment). It is imperative to find the impact of each factor can be identified and analyzed to both arrive at the most accurate forecast and identify potential levers to optimize launch uptake. Physicians do not treat all patients within a condition with the same therapeutic option. When asking physicians about the potential uptake of a new product, it is important to not only focus on the relevant patient segments but also to consider all current and future treatment options.