When the plan sponsors and their formularies are revealed in September, brand teams must overlay that information on their
knowledge of the geographic distribution of beneficiaries and prescriptions. This will help them understand the overall business
potential and attractiveness of the Part D regions. Brand marketers will have to make tradeoffs between the overall prescription
potential for their product class in any given region and the formulary positioning and access they have gained in the initial
round of Part D contracting with MCOs and PBMs. For example, a geographic area with fewer beneficiaries might be more attractive
than an area with more beneficiaries—depending on the access a brand has.
Clearly, manufacturers' senior management will continue to request updates on how Part D is expected to affect their brands
financially. Thus, brand marketers need to hone their understanding of the drivers of sales and profitability in Part D and
revise forecasts based on contracting-related interactions with Part D sponsors and changes taking place in other segments,
such as the transition of dual-eligibles from Medicaid to Medicare.
POSITIONING AND MESSAGING Companies need to conduct market research with physicians and Medicare beneficiaries. Not only will this help brand teams
better understand these two key stakeholder groups and how they fit into the Part D buying process, but it will also help
teams define their products' value proposition, positioning, and messaging in relation to Part D. The process should include
steps to identify any unique challenges in preventing or treating the disease in question in the Medicare population.
Brand marketers should also examine how clinical, health-economics, outcomes-research, regulatory, and product-development
activities can support their products' Part D value proposition. For example, a company can identify potential opportunities
for additional claims or indications by evaluating existing product-level clinical data about seniors.
PROMOTIONAL MIX AND RESOURCE ALLOCATION Another critical decision for brand teams lies in adjusting their promotional mix and allocating Part D resources. Key questions
that need to be addressed include:
- How do the requirements for personal selling change in Part D?
- How might product-sampling requirements change?
- What role could coupons play in helping address co-payment or coinsurance requirements for beneficiaries (for example, patients
in the doughnut hole)?
- What might we want to consider in the area of public relations and outreach to support the success of Part D?
- How do we approach direct-to-consumer advertising?
TACTICS, PROGRAMS, AND MATERIALS Manufacturers will need to incorporate Part D-specific messaging into all current marketing materials. In addition, they
should consider CME and publication plans that specifically address seniors. Partnerships with key influencers and advocacy
groups will be increasingly important, not just to advance products' value propositions and positioning, but also to support
the success of the Part D program itself.
The Medicare Part D Buying Process
Managed-markets marketing teams have their work cut out for them, particularly in the areas of planning and forecasting; positioning
and messaging; pricing and contracting; and tactics, programs, and materials.
PLANNING AND FORECASTING Within the managed-markets group, people with responsibility for Medicare Part D will have two key tasks: projecting how the
new channels are likely to evolve, and integrating Part D channel-planning into overall brand planning. To do this, they will
need to work with other groups within the organization, including government affairs and policy. Meanwhile, managed-markets
personnel responsible for other segments (such as commercial managed care, Medicaid, and long-term care) will need to understand
Part D and determine how it will affect those segments.