Regardless of where the funding comes from, the challenge is to attain sufficient resources to provide adequate LCM support
for a brand. An interviewee in the survey gave a prime example of this all-too-common struggle for resources: The LCM team
member had to fight to get funding for a $35,000 white paper, which ultimately saved the company upwards of $35 million from
a competitor's drug. As the interviewee noted, it would not have mattered if he/she was asking for $2 million to write the
white paper—either way it was going to be an uphill battle to secure the necessary funding carry out the LCM tactic.
To overcome the challenge of winning necessary funding for LCM, a Company F executive suggested that LCM team members go to
high as they can within the organization to make sure that upper management not only understands LCM and its benefits, but
also tries to sell the process of LCM as much as possible. Achieving buy-in from upper management is critical in gaining financial
support for LCM, as well as cultural support for developing an LCM-conscious organization.
Although there are always other market factors at play, companies that take the time to analyze the benefits of investing
in specific LCM tactics have a better idea of what type of return the tactics might produce. As LCM teams and functions begin
developing LCM strategies and objectives for a brand, it is typical for them to explore strategies that will offer the best
payout for a brand. It figures that LCM teams that are able to provide evidence-based research on the resource implications
of investing in a specific LCM tactic are in better position to request and receive adequate funding for the LCM initiative.
For branded pharmaceutical companies, the greatest advantage they have is the market exclusivity afforded by their patents.
In their race against the clock, teams consider all the tools available and assemble them into a viable LCM plan that considers
different scenarios and contingencies at different points in their drugs' lifecycles.
Although advanced groups start formal planning in Phase II or III, it's not too late at launch or shortly thereafter. LCM
tactics commonly employed during a brand's peak sales period show that drugs enjoy a long stretch of patent protection and,
ideally, sales that continually climb or, at the least, gently plateau.
Survey data compared tactics' average ROI, implementation time, and investment (the size of the bubbles). At this point in
time, the ability to reposition a marketed product delivers a cost-effective shot at delivering increased revenue. Options
such as new formulations and indications are more expensive and time consuming, and they get mixed reviews in terms of ROI.
Less expensive options such as patient programs are relatively cheap and effective. These tools are available to nearly all
brands. The trick lies in integrating them into a cohesive plan.
Repositioning, for example, is not a new concept; it's a brand's response to market realities. Based on doctor and patient
views, clinical data, and competitor activity, teams alter promotions to make the most of their products. In concert with
other long-term plans, a well-conceived strategy can shift a brand's fortunes and lay the groundwork for years of success.
On this front, King Pharmaceuticals carved out a niche in the sleep-aid market by repositioning Sonata. Compared with Ambien,
the drug delivered fewer hours of sleep—a perceived deficiency in this class. King, however, turned the situation to its advantage
by proclaiming that "It's not too late for Sonata," and encouraging Sonata use when it was too late for a full eight hours
of sleep. In a more dramatic move, GlaxoSmithKline bought OTC rights to Roche's orlistat and turned an underwhelming prescription
drug into OTC blockbuster Alli.
As time goes on and a drug ages, the brand faces a different set of challenges along with different later-life options. As
patent protection nears its end, R&D-based options tend to offer companies the best chance to retain revenue, but they also
require significant investments of time and money.
Effective transitions to next-generation drugs are the holy grail for companies seeking to replace an older brand with a new
one. AstraZeneca's switch from Prilosec to Nexium is a longstanding benchmark for success on this front. More recently, Shire
launched Vyvanse to build on its Adderall franchise. Although Adderall XR's patent was set to expire in 2009, Shire launched
its new brand in 2007. The time cushion provides enough time to ensure patients make the transition before generics appear.