The importance of proper patient identification at launch cannot be underestimated. I previously wrote about it being the key to a successful launch from the perspective of physician marketing and targeting. Yet, the biggest impact proper patient identification has on the physician is not from your marketing efforts at all, but from an invisible detail that most biotechnology companies don’t even measure – the feedback from the patients initially prescribed your product after launch.
What we see is that marketers obsess over the volume of scripts on a weekly or even daily basis, but virtually pay no attention to the attributes of those early patients until it’s too late.
The patient feedback comprised in this incredibly impactful invisible detail is based on two different types of evidence:
- Perceptual evidence – The description patients provide the physician of how they’re feeling in those first few weeks.
- Physical evidence – The feedback from the patient’s body through assessment and diagnostics that provides the physician the objective evidence needed to assess the product’s utility.
This feedback via the invisible detail by a handful of patients prescribed your product ultimately shapes the physician’s initial perceptions about your product, and in some cases can linger through the remainder of its lifecycle. Our analyses of launch uptake has shown that initial use in later lines of therapy and/or in patients with more co-morbidities than evaluated in the pivotal trials have frequently doomed products.
The perceptual and physical feedback of those first few patients prescribed your product is one of the most important factors, along with a focused positioning, in determining your launch curve. At launch, the savvy marketer won’t be satisfied getting just any prescriptions, but will focus sales and marketing efforts on acquiring the optimal patients that will demonstrate the true utility of their product to the practice.