Launch on a Budget - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Launch on a Budget
Drugs don't need blockbuster budgets to achieve blockbuster status. In fact, companies may want to reconsider the big dollars being spent on me-too launches.


Successful Product Manager's Handbook


Teams marketing first-in-class brands, like Brand 1, are more content to let their drugs promote themselves through innovative science, which proves attractive to physicians and patients. Though challenged to mold new markets, these brands spend far less, on average, than follow-on treatments. It's easy to become a leader when you have no competitors.

Follow-on products, like Brand 2, on the other hand, face uphill battles against entrenched competitors. Physicians and patients comfortable with existing treatments resist new drugs that sometimes offer few discernible improvements.

To make matters worse, payer organizations and formulary committees require clinical and economic reasons to shift to new brands. But if a company knows where to zero in on activity—as Brand 2 did—a mad dash to gain market share can work.

No two brands are alike, and it's easy to paint with too broad a brush. In the end, understanding a product's unique outlook, which may include opening a new market or challenging entrenched leaders, helps teams determine where their limited marketing dollars will do the most good.

Drugs are not one-size-fits-all—don't market them that way.

Eric Bolesh is research team leader at Cutting Edge Information. He can be reached at


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