Does Your Rigor Match Your Risk?

May 01, 2014
By Pharmaceutical Executive Editors

Scott Hansen
Pharmaceutical companies are undergoing radical changes—they are no longer solely in the compound development and brand marketing businesses. Today, they're moving more and more into the patient care business. Along with that, comes different responsibilities.

Geoff Melick
Back in the day, the only relationship that mattered was the one between your brand and the physician. Simply put, doctors prescribed your drugs to help patients. Today, not only can doctors prescribe your brands, they can also recommend your technology.

However, the increasing complexity of technology leads to increasing risk and greater scrutiny.

What does this mean to Senior Directors and Franchise Leaders at pharmaceutical companies? It means that there is a need for better process and quality assurance benchmarks.

Technology is a double-edged sword

Technology offers the promise of engaging patients on a level never seen before. The benefits of an engaged patient start with increased compliance—a great thing for pharmaceutical companies—and extend to a more active and empowered consumer of healthcare, and ultimately to better and more affordable outcomes.

Your marketing teams and agencies have been rightly focused on developing up-to-date, innovative digital tools in order to engage healthcare providers and patients.

However, in their rush and excitement, have they ensured the correct infrastructure and processes are in place to mitigate risk? Clearly, digital requires a new level of rigor.

After all, what could go wrong?

Consider this scenario: As a Senior Director and Franchise Leader, you're responsible for the successful launch of a new drug for a chronic condition. In your tactical mix, you're including a downloadable monitoring app as part of the starter kit.

Your extended team executes what appears to be a flawless prelaunch-to-launch plan. All of the programs and tactics are successfully kicked off.

Or, so you thought.

Physicians begin writing new Rx's and handing out the starter kit. They're excited that their patients will have a digital monitoring app to go along with the new drug regimen.

However, like, not enough time was put into the quality assurance process during development. Problems occur as soon as patients start using the app on their mobile phones. Quickly, it becomes clear that the app needs to be discontinued.

What was thought to be a successful launch turns into a mess when patients complain to their physicians about the poor performance of the monitoring app.

This negative feedback leads to lost revenues, damaged relationships with healthcare professionals, and increased scrutiny of your new brand—now compromised by a technological glitch.

And, unfortunately, you find yourself in ex-HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius's shoes.

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