Eduardo Schur, Navigant Consulting

Nov 03, 2008
By Pharmaceutical Executive Editors

Despite all the pressures on pharma, and its increasingly competitive marketplace, the outlook for the industry continues to be positive. But if companies want to be able to support future R&D, they’ll have to focus on generating revenue from their assets today. For managers, this means increased pressure to meet ever-increasing revenue and growth targets, while maintaining product profitability levels and return—and while dealing with the aftermath of industry-wide reorganizations that have reduced headcounts and resources for both commercial and medical operations.

Companies need to take a new look at their commercialization strategies and execution, reviewing current performance needs and comparing performance to expectations. Lifecycle management plans ought to be reevaluated along with medical and clinical plans and performance management tools. Other key considerations should include: imminent and future threats, patient flow, stakeholder behaviors, the drivers and barriers for change, and differentiation versus current and future competitors.

Successful planning
Operational and strategic planning factors should be considered first. Operational factors such as timing, leadership, resources, involvement, and process should be nailed down prior to the start of strategic planning. Leadership is critical: Identify those available to support the process to successful completion, and be sure to solidify their commitment and make sure they have appropriate resources.

It pays to have a discussion of the planning process itself to help ensure alignment with important corporate-level strategic activities. Careful implementation of the planning process can help ensure that it is easily understood.

The big picture
The aim is to develop a clearly defined and understood vision for the commercial asset—a vision that is aligned with the portfolio and corporate objectives. You must be ambitious. You are out to gain comprehensive knowledge about the commercial asset, including all clinical aspects and the external environment. This knowledge feeds critical analysis and the development of insightful strategy.

Finally, there needs to be clear accountability throughout the planning process, as well as key objectives, performance indicators, tactics, and milestones.

The success of commercial and medical planning is ensured if it includes an internal, shared vision for the product; a portfolio perspective; realistic expectations for plan and planning process; comprehensive knowledge about product/external environment; clearly defined strategies; and assigned accountability in the plan.

Eduardo Schur is Managing Director of Navigant Consulting. He can be reached at [email protected]

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