Time to Blow Up the Pharmaceutical Sales Model? New Deloitte Debate

Time to Blow Up the Pharmaceutical Sales Model? New Deloitte Debate
What: "New Commercial Model: Science or Swag?"

Who: W. Scott Evangelista, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP

When: Available immediately

Where: www.deloitte.com/us/debates/scienceorswag

Details: Pharmaceutical companies face a fundamental decision about the best way to sell their products. Even if they could find a way to make the current sales model work, pharma companies still face sky-high commercial costs. So, the question is, should pharma companies stick with their traditional sales approach or blow it up and try something new?

"Pharmaceutical companies don't necessarily need to blow up their sales forces; however, they have no choice but to fundamentally change how they sell their products," explains Evangelista. "With billions of dollars (and a better delivery model for stakeholders) hanging in the balance, pharma companies can't afford to wait to make these critical changes."

Evangelista offers the following as key focus areas companies should consider in re-evaluating their model:

Incorporate consideration for commercial implications early in product development. Collaborate early with payers and other key stakeholders to design studies and develop products, and then keep them involved throughout the product lifecycle. Enhance portfolio management to help assess the commercial viability of molecules in the pipeline and go/no-go decisions for moving forward.

Use advanced analytics to optimize investments. Build superior data management and analytical capabilities to improve resource allocation and return on investment (ROI). These advanced capabilities can be applied in a variety of ways, such as: enabling companies to better understand and optimize their marketing mix; extending physician targeting beyond top decile prescribers by incorporating other factors such as marketing mix, payer position and physician behavioral profiles; and reducing resources allocated to direct-to-physician sales and increasing the focus on non-personal promotion and new channels to boost ROI.

Develop a more targeted approach to personal promotion. While the traditional product detail is no longer sufficient on its own, nor valuable in many cases, it still has a place in the commercial toolkit. Build flexible field forces that can be leveraged across products and deployed in a much more focused manner, based on physician preferences. These representatives can serve an important role in driving pull-through during specific inflection points in the product lifecycle such as launch and during competitive market events.

"Pharma's challenges require a detailed understanding of each stakeholder's role and contribution to value," says Evangelista. "By better understanding every stakeholder's unique needs and motivators, a pharma company would be better equipped to improve its internal capabilities -- e.g., knowledge, skills, tools -- to interact more effectively with each constituent."

Evangelista's points and counterpoints on restructuring pharma company sales models, as well as additional viewpoints targeting payers, providers and business analytics, are available at www.deloitte.com/us/debates/scienceorswag.

This topic is the latest in a series of Deloitte Debates that examine today's most pressing business issues from multiple perspectives. New debate topics are added weekly at www.deloitte.com/us/debates.

About Deloitte

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