“Established products,” “established drugs,” “mature drugs,” or “classic brands” within the pharmaceutical industry often remain a significant revenue driver for pharmaceutical companies despite the loss of exclusivity (LOE), the subsequent entry of generics or biosimilars, or when facing approval of drugs with same or similar indication and a superior profile.
Challenges for marketing in sustaining revenue of Established Product
Pharmaceutical marketing functions are tasked to help sustain the revenue for an established product; however, is challenged by the following:
- No new data or indications – little leverage to engage and “permission to speak” to prescribers and payers.
- Product perceived as old news or even obsolete across healthcare ecosystem.
- The marketing budget is severely limited.
- Low priority vs. Launch brands
- Limited attention in organization vs. Launch brands
- Fewer sales reps or no field force
- Must carefully select where to play to not take attention of launch brands.
Scenarios where an established product can be the right prescription choice for HCPs.
Pharmaceutical companies are morally obligated only to promote products that offer the best possible outcomes and benefits for patients, ensuring the highest standards of patient care and safety. Under which condition an established product facing LOE and/or a market with newer, more efficacious, and safer treatments is the appropriate drug for a given patient? Here are a few scenarios:
Healthcare professionals may have extensive experience and familiarity with the established product, including its efficacy, safety profile, and potential side effects. Adopting and applying a new drug as part of a complete treatment program for a given patient group requires experience, education, and time.
Patient response and tolerance:
Some patients will have a specific response or tolerance to the established product, making it more suitable for their needs. Switching to a new superior product may only guarantee some patients the same level of effectiveness or tolerability.
Patient loyalty and trust:
Patients who have successfully used the established product and have had positive experiences often develop trust in the brand. They may be hesitant to switch to a new product, even if it is considered superior, which may hinder adherence to a new drug and negatively impact the patient-to-HCP relationship.
Depending on the healthcare system and insurance coverage, the established product may be more affordable for patients or payers than a new superior product.
Availability & access:
The established product frequently has a well-established supply chain, widespread availability, and accessibility in various healthcare settings. This can ensure consistent access for patients.
These scenarios vary depending on the characteristics of the established and new superior products, generics/biosimilars, the therapeutic area, patient population, and healthcare system considerations.
Opportunities for marketing established products
While established brands in the pharmaceutical industry face unique challenges, they also have several opportunities to leverage their strengths and maintain a competitive edge.
Long-term data and evidence sharing:
Established brands often possess a wealth of long-term data and evidence demonstrating impact on patient outcomes. This allows for the rightful positioning as a “tried and tested” drug.
Leveraging their history and heritage, established brands can engage in heritage campaigns emphasizing their longstanding market presence. This can help them maintain a significant share of mind among HCPs, as familiarity and trust are important pillars in a quickly changing and complex healthcare ecosystem.
Testimonials and patient stories:
Testimonials and stories from HCPs and patients showcasing outcomes are widely available for many established products and can be uniquely insightful within the given regulatory limitations.
Reinforcing Search rankings and product website
Over time, established brands have often built solid search rankings, making them more visible to HCPs searching for information online. Also, the HCPs’ awareness of the drug is often mirrored in a relatively high number of product searches in Google or similar engine searches. Keeping content fresh outside the gated product content can cement the position of the brand site.
Established brands can leverage their experience and resources to provide comprehensive patient support programs that are outcome focused. Supporting patients an HCPs beyond the product can further solidify an established product as a trusted partner in holistic patient care.
Focus on benefits and “how-to” rather than “brand”:
Unlike newly launched brands, established brands do not need to spend significant resources introducing themselves to the market. Instead, they can focus on highlighting their products’ specific benefits and advantages. This allows for more targeted marketing campaigns that speak directly to the needs of HCPs and their patients.
Established brands in pharmaceutical companies have several opportunities to leverage their strengths and maintain a competitive edge. However, they need to do this while ensuring they only promote products that offer patients the best possible outcomes and benefits.
The Healthcare & Life Sciences Studio aims to reinvent the life sciences industry ecosystem through tangible technology-driven solutions. Globant aims to bridge the gap to help life sciences and healthcare organizations to achieve their mission of delivering innovation and services faster and more efficiently to enhance patient value and improve outcomes. Learn more about our insights in this area.