Successful brand launches require engagement and education of the treating physicians. But how do you best engage physicians? We recently surveyed general practitioners (GPs) and specialists to ask them some pertinent questions.
Not surprisingly, interest in learning about new products is driven by potential improvements in long-term safety, efficacy, and quality of life. Lower on the list (but still important) are improvements in dosing and administration. Three-quarters of GPs (vs 55% of specialists) want to know about new products once they are approved and/or they have access. This is likely driven by the sheer volume of products and disease areas with which they need to keep track. Specialists are more likely to want to learn about a product during clinical development (44% vs 24% for GPs).
In terms of how they want to learn, satisfaction is higher for in-person interactions for both GPs and specialists (83% vs 60%) but their preferred ways to learn about products are the same regardless of in person or virtual format. When asked their top ways to learn about new products, the ones rising to the top were presentations at conferences, group discussions with peers or colleagues, and presentations by lead authors. While still viewed as important, discussions with sales reps and MSLs are lower on the list. It is interesting that presentations (at conferences and by lead authors) were in the top 3 when GPs indicate they want to learn about products after they are available as these presentations often occur during clinical development, rather than after approval. It may be that they enjoy following the studies in professional meetings, but do not commit the results to memory until the product is approved. This may save some mental energy keeping track of products that may not become available for their use.
Physicians indicate they are more likely to meet with sales reps or MSLs when there are new products or indications to talk about but they are also more likely to meet with those they have an established relationship.
Key Takeaways for Companies:
- Ensure sales reps and MSLs are leading with interesting new information on products.
- Facilitate efficient dissemination of product information following launch to ensure products are adopted as quickly as possible.
- Promote in-person interactions to the extent possible over virtual where the engagement and satisfaction is lower.
- What are the ideal aspects of a new product launch in terms of types of information?
- Which perceived drivers of success for new product launches were well received during COVID-19?