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Launching products into the pharmaceutical market has never been more crucial and challenging for life science companies seeking to achieve high performance.
A product launch nowadays has to be "faster" (enhanced uptake of top line sales), "better" (accelerated growth and higher peak sales) and "cheaper" (executed with fewer resources).
Accenture High Performance Business research shows that many players in the life science industry are facing several market trends that increase the importance of delivering maximum value to customers—and to the company—with each new product or indication launch. The following trends and implications can be observed:
Blockbuster patent expiry and weak pipelines are enhancing the need to optimize replacement sales from pipeline products and the importance of successful new product launches.
Significant price erosion after patent expiry caused by intense generic competition is requiring them to maximize product value during patent protection.
An increased focus on in-licensing requires new capabilities and flexibility to quickly ramp up resources to launch in-licensed products.
Changes in sales models are increasing the need to sufficiently align and coordinate resources for launches.
Poor public perception is enhancing the need to increase positive perception of new products and pharmaceutical organizations.
Payer and authority pressures requesting the demonstration of superior product value and benefits.
In order to respond to these dynamics, life science companies need to establish an effective product launch capability that ensures launch readiness. They must also be able to accelerate launch uptake to offset sales gaps from patent expiry as well as maximizing sales throughout the patent-protected product life cycle.
Despite the importance of an effective product launch process, many companies will experience launch shortcomings that if not addressed, will threaten the company’s future success. Addressing and overcoming these launch weaknesses will be a key factor in life science companies becoming high-performance businesses.
Product launch comprises the planning and execution of drug development and commercialization activities to introduce a new product or indication to the market. The launch period begins prior to licensing, with the first significant involvement of marketing in shaping clinical development. It ends several months after the market introduction of the product, parallel to the implementation of subsequent product life cycle tactics (e.g., launch of a new formulation or additional indication).
Accenture has defined a high level end-to-end product launch process along three launch stages Pre-Launch, Launch and Post-Launch. These consist of the major steps:
The process steps are performed both on global and local levels with differences in:
Activity scope—Global launch activities focus more on pre-launch processes where an intensive collaboration between R&D and marketing is required.
Timing—Some processes are kicked off by global functions first, then communicated to countries which continue the process.
Level of detail—Global conducts high-level analysis of market dynamics, competition and consumers that will be further refined and adjusted according to market specifics in each country.
Product launches are complex due to global and local alignments and the involvement of cross-functional teams. To be able to master the complexity and achieve high performance through successful product launches, the following key success factors need to be considered:
Senior Management Support and Sponsorship: Ensure top-management is committed and engaged in the product launch to drive internal awareness and excitement.
Insight-driven Product Strategies and Plans: Ensure product strategy and promotional plans are based on market requirements and customer needs.
Clearly Defined Processes: Ensure launch planning and execution are based on clearly defined processes and activities mapped to timeline and monitored by critical milestones.
Aligned Organization Model: Ensure cross-functional staffed product teams are established with defined roles and responsibilities and clear reporting relationships.
Motivated and Trained People: Ensure involved people are committed and equipped with required skills and provide timely reward and recognition.
Effective Management Tools and Information: Ensure appropriate analytics tools are used and required information is reported to enable comprehensive view of product launch performance.
Achieving successful product launches in an increasingly complex and demanding environment requires well-planned and structured launch preparation and execution. Accenture can support life science companies on the path to high performance by providing the preparation, execution and acceleration of successful product launches through Accenture’s dedicated Product Launch Assets such as:
Launch Strategy Definition tools help pharmaceutical companies develop a winning strategy through a deep understanding of the competitive environment and market risks that the product launch might face. Additional tools such as therapeutic class-specific Patient Flow Models and scenario development are used to understand potential market size as well as potential responses to new products.
Launch Readiness Diagnostic tools focus on the identification of launch capability gaps that might prevent fast uptake. A Launch Check-List assesses the preparedness of the market, product, organization and operations. Findings are summarized in a Launch Readiness Report based on which measures are defined to close the gaps and establish capable launch preparation and execution skills.
Launch Plan Development tools aim at the identification of important launch preparation milestones and integration of major launch activities in a detailed project plan across functions and programs. A view of activities from the launch project plan identified as most important are consolidated into a Critical Path Summary. Accenture launch plan expertise enables brand teams to manage flawless launch execution and maximize launch success.
Launch Analytics Suite includes, among others, Marketing Mix Optimization, Portfolio Optimization and Promotional Effectiveness Analysis. These analytics will enable the brand to more efficiently target prescribers, optimize budget and resource allocation decisions and enhance speed of sales uptake.
Launch Uptake Support offers 360-degree feedback integrated in a performance dashboard with predefined customer, product, market and sales force key performance Indicators allowing real-time monitoring of launch activities. Regular Launch Tracking and Launch Uptake Insights Reports are created to support better understanding of the parameters affecting launch performance.
Launch Program Support provides companies an integrated view of the status of launch programs and activities across all work streams. Accenture’s standardized Project Management Office templates and tools tailored to the client’s requirements support pharmaceutical companies to efficiently plan and execute launches.
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