It seems like every new product launching today is a specialty pharmaceutical that requires access via a network of specialty pharmacies. This access system introduces a hurdle not only for the patient and prescriber, but also for the manufacturer – streamlining the process from prescription generation by the physician to medication acquisition by the patient.
Having completed a number of marketing effectiveness analyses on specialty product patient support programs, ROF has identified 6 essential elements to maximize patient acquisition while minimizing negative feedback.
- Education – Many prescribers and most patients are unfamiliar with the adjudication process for a specialty pharmacy brand so providing online video tutorial modules enables prescribers, patients, and office staff to not only be aware of the program, but to actually ‘see’ the process and gain a better understanding of how it works.
- Transparency – Although it’s a great first step to understand the process, the next logical progression is to allow customers to know exactly where their prescription is within the process. Showing both providers and patients where they are within the adjudication and distribution process eliminates doubt and engenders trust and, believe it or not, patience.
- Introductions – A lot of players are involved in getting a prescription approved and shipped. Clearly introducing the key players involved in the process, along with their ‘roles and responsibilities’ distributes accountability while minimizing duplication of efforts.
- Commitment – Getting prescription approval takes time and too often it’s unclear how much time is too much. Committing to and communicating performance metrics to end customers sets expectations and lets everyone in the process know what to expect. For example, communicating that all benefits investigations will be completed within 2 business days or that patients will be provided with up to 12 weeks of treatment while the adjudication process takes place clearly demonstrates a manufacturer’s commitment to their prescribers and patients.
- Tone – Too often the tone of the creative execution uses words like “easy” and “simple.” There is nothing easy or simple about ensuring that every patient that needs your brand, receives it in a timely and cost-effective manner. Marketers need to ensure the tone of their support services materials strike the right balance without overpromising.
- Experience – Specialty product support programs are complex enough without increasing the complexity with a sub-par user experience. It is important to develop an end-to-end program experience that is easily understood and intuitive to navigate whether online or offline.
As little as 5 years ago, a marketers’ sole focus was getting the physician to write their product with subsequent patient conversion being almost assured. Today, getting the physician to write a script is just the beginning of a long conversion cascade that results in an estimated 15% of scripts being stuck in “prescription purgatory.”
Start with the right elements to optimize your chances of success and ensure that the majority of prescriptions written ends with a patient on therapy.