Over the past decade, a whole new channel through which to sell and market drugs has opened and today, all too often, pharma and biotechs do not understand how best to work it.
From a healthcare market previously dominated by small physician-owned practices, there has been a massive consolidation with hospitals having bought up clinic group after clinic group. Added to this, hospitals themselves have consolidated into new mega practices and today a major percentage of hospitals around the country are part of Integrated Delivery Networks (IDNs).
With the creation of IDNs has come the drive into value-based health. For most provider groups, gone are the “fee-for-service” days where they billed for every transaction and maximized their profits through high prices and high volumes. As part of IDNs, now their goal is to deliver “value” and deploy strategies driven by metrics.
This may seem simple, but successfully organizing and managing large provider groups around value is an extremely complex task. To design value-based metrics, IDNs need the capabilities and systems to measure via electronic medical record (EMR) systems. They need physicians to buy into their new business models. They need deep understanding of their patient populations, and they need complex care pathways deployed across their networks of physicians and specialties for key diseases.
For most, having all this is place is years into the future. Today, C-Level managers all too often have to focus on low-hanging fruit such as minimizing hospital readmissions or in-hospital infections, instead of focusing on how best to manage the cost of complex cancer care. Deploying high quality EMR systems is absorbing a huge proportion of their budget, hence they are short on data analytics, short on resources to benefit from big data, training and education of their doctors and nurses, and short on ways to drive best practices around adherence to prescribed therapies.
For pharma and biotechs, this is a very different world to the traditional detailing to clinics and presenting to doctors and their staff. They need specialized teams that can talk to the executives in IDNs and understand their business issues. They need to be able to offer value-based therapeutic solutions, not expensive products. These C-Level managers welcome help, but do not warm to big pharma if they appear to be trying to push exorbitantly expensive pills down their corporate throats.
It is not always easy for pharma and biotechs to switch to designing and delivering value-based solutions. They may not have the right skills in their field teams to talk about solutions to IDNs. Third-party databases may not be able to supply their big data analytic teams with the right Real-World Evidence. Novel adherence solutions around mobile devices may be of limited use if they cannot seamlessly interface into IDNs’ electronic networks.
Today’s reality is pharma and biotechs can all too easily find that they are less successful than they hope in building strong relationships with IDNs. As a result, they should think about an alternative near-term strategy:
Offer the “best imperfect” solution rather than the “ultimate” solution.
How?… the answer is by understanding what their competition is doing “right” and what they are doing “wrong” in trying to sell specific drugs to different types of IDNs. Gaining this insight will allow a brand team to build an effective IDN strategy around outperforming its competition, while giving it time to build an effective strategy to meet the evolving unmet needs of IDNs.
Competitive Intelligence can provide the short-term answers to the complex and evolving longer-term issues around how to best sell into the new IDN channel!