Launching Pharmaceutical Brands (PH170)

Formulas for Commercialization Success

  • Get the Right Marketing Mix — and Ensure Quick Market Uptake

    In today’s competitive, payer-driven landscape, brand commercialization encompasses a dizzying range of undertakings.  Making investment decisions in all of these areas, from promotions to market access to medical affairs, is more complex than ever.

    No two companies approach this marketing puzzle in the same way.  Lacking a crystal ball, brand teams and their allies invest millions of dollars to create an effective mix and position their drugs for rapid uptake.  Their decisions play a critical role in determining whether a product exceeds sales expectations — or falls short of its goals.

    This report showcases in-depth investment benchmarks for the launches of 15 real brands in the US, EU and other key markets.  These easy-to-navigate brand launch profiles — which address a wide range of competitive pressures, therapeutic areas, resource support scenarios, clinical proficiencies and commercial prospects — serve as models for teams moving toward market:


    Win critical resources for commercialization and launch

    Explore brand spending benchmarks across five large categories and 15 detailed subcategories.  Use this data to avoid underspending in critical areas and overspending in others — and align resources with key strengths and weaknesses.


    Focus resources at different points in the launch window

    While no two brand launches are identical, companies follow similar patterns in allocating marketing resources — amping up investments as the product moves through development.  Follow these patterns as you explore resource data for each brand from Phase 3 through post-launch. 


    Diversify investments and avoid mistakes

    See how other companies handle launch allocations, and learn from their mistakes.  Unpack each brand’s story to understand why certain decisions were made regarding different marketing tactics and resource allocations.

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  • Brand Launch Benchmarks

    Report Benefits

    • Plan budgets and win necessary resources for commercialization and launch.
    • Pinpoint spending for critical time periods throughout the launch window.
    • Know when and how much to invest in specific areas of advertising and promotion, market access, decision support and medical affairs.
    • Avoid underfunding in critical areas — and overinvesting in others.
    • Use benchmarking data to identify investment levels and patterns among comparable brands.


    Chapters 1-15: Brand Profiles

    Each brand profile contains up to 26 charts focused on these topics:

    Brand Details

    Brand dashboards include the following data:

    • Therapeutic area and status as first-line treatment option and first-in-class drug
    • Market launch years for the US, EU, and other relevant markets
    • Presence of partnerships around the drug
    • Number of competitors at launch
    • Number of months from Phase 3a to market approval and from market approval to launch date
    • Expected peak sales in the US, EU, and target launch market (Canada, France or China) as applicable.


    Total Commercialization Spending

    Brand spending data for the report's 3 major time periods:

    • Phase 3a to market approval
    • Market approval to launch
    • Launch to 6 months post-launch


    Brand Investment by Category 

    Brand spending across the 3 major time periods for the following categories:

    • Medical education
    • Medical information
    • Thought leader activities/MSL programs
    • Medical publications
    • Brand market research
    • Competitive intelligence
    • Health economics and outcomes research (HEOR)
    • Pricing and reimbursement
    • Detail aids and promotional materials
    • Promotional speaker programs
    • Congresses, symposia and conference promotions
    • Digital marketing
    • Physician support programs
    • Print journal ads
    • Direct-to-consumer advertising
    • Patient communication and education


    Chapter 16: Average Spending by Category

    51 charts focused on average spending in US launches across all brands:

    Overall spending mix by time period (Phase 3a to Market Approval, Market Approval to Launch, and Launch to 6 Months Post-Launch):

    • Average spending allocations (in dollars)
    • Average spending mix (by percentage of total investment)


    Medical affairs investment across the 3 time periods:

    • Medical education
    • Medical information
    • Thought leader activities/MSL programs
    • Medical publications


    Decision support investment across the 3 time periods:

    • Market research
    • Competitive intelligence


    Market access investment across the 3 time periods:

    • Health economics and outcomes research spending
    • Pricing and reimbursement spending


    Health care provider-targeted advertising and promotion investment across the 3 time periods:

    • Detail aids and promotional materials
    • Print journal ads
    • Promotional speaker programs
    • Congresses, symposia and conference promotions
    • Digital marketing
    • Physician support programs


    Patient- and consumer-targeted advertising and promotion investment across the 3 time periods:

    • Patient communication and education
    • DTC for specific brands, where appropriate


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  • Key Finding from Brand Launch Research


    The following excerpt is a key finding from the full report's executive summary:

    Shift Spending Focus as Products Progress Toward Launch

    Though no two brands’ commercialization strategies are the same, the majority of companies follow similar patterns when launching pharmaceutical products.  As brands move from development toward launch they shift from market prep activities to advertising and promotion expenditures.  Figures E.2, E.3 and E.4 [included in the full report] highlight this trend among the US brands covered in this report across five high-level categories.

    As shown in the data, resources tend to shift away from decision-support activities and flow into advertising and promotion efforts as clinical trials end and products launch into the marketplace.  This trend makes sense as market preparation shifts to actual market activities.  With the market entry strategies ready, companies can concentrate on implementing these strategies in the real world.

    During launch year, over 50% of all spending is earmarked for advertising and promotion activities (not including DTC — which, when used, drives these percentages significantly higher).  While medical affairs expenses still consume 28.6% of total spending, advertising and promotion increases leave decision support and market access with only a combined 18.1% of all launch spending. 

    Ideally, all prerequisite spending is accomplished prior to launch with only minimal amounts necessary for continued coverage of market access and decision support needs.  This leaves the majority of funding available for providing the brand the best marketing support to garner the greatest share of the market within its first six months on market.

    At the same time, medical affairs activities remain somewhat constant throughout the launch window. However, resources may shift between the subcategories slightly as products move closer to launch.  Market access spending increases as a percentage of the commercialization spending mix right before launch as companies make a final push for formulary access and pricing points.  Overall, however, spending for market access activities does not increase on average immediately before launch.  Instead, actual dollars spent remains somewhat constant from the previous time frame.

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