The explosive growth in the number of filings and associated approval of drugs to treat rare diseases has outstripped the supply of qualified, experienced rare-disease marketers. Unless you are retiring in the next 5 years, there is a strong possibility that you’ll be working in a rare disease market. So, it’s critical to consider how rare disease marketing is different from traditional biotechnology marketing.
There are four key differences that immediately come to mind that any marketer or company getting involved in rare disease should keep in mind.
- Rare Disease patients aren’t readily identifiable – it sometimes takes years for patients to get accurately diagnosed, and during that journey their interactions with the treatment community and information search frequency and patterns wax and wane depending on their own personal experiences. Finding them at the exact moments when they are looking for new information is no easy task.
- Rare Disease patients aren’t waiting for you – pharmaceutical marketers are often ‘Johnny come lately’ to a community that has existed without them and which has developed a current treatment ‘best practices’ through MD/patient experience, which may include devices, generic medications and services (not just prescription drugs)
- Rare Disease patients need a higher burden of proof – rare disease patients and their providers have develop a healthy skepticism in order to avoid disappointment from overly hyped treatments that do not materialize and therefore, seek to scrutinize clinical trial evidence right down to the inclusion/exclusion criteria
- Rare Disease marketers have less time, not more – breakthrough or priority approvals, which are fairly common in rare diseases, truncate the entire launch readiness process, but those new to rare disease often overly invest time in market dynamics and patient journey elements at the expense of a thorough evaluation of positioning, access and reimbursement details
The commercial implications for each of the above are profound and very different from diseases that have a much higher prevalence in the overall population. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss the commercial implications with you and your team.