Is the 'Emerging Market' a Dated Concept? - Pharmaceutical Executive


Is the 'Emerging Market' a Dated Concept?

Pharmaceutical Executive

Checklist for Change

Long-term success in emerging markets thus requires a unique skill set, one that requires agility and the willingness to adapt to new conditions on the ground. Consider the following levers of influence before executing your strategy in each market:

  • Prioritize investment. Are you focusing investment primarily on manufacturing, R&D, or promotion? Local government, of course, can drive the decision on all three of these options, but once the decision is made, make sure the investment correlates with stated objectives.
  • Know thyself. The best way to succeed in emerging markets is to understand the core strengths and value proposition your company can bring to the table. Organize your portfolio to meet the demands of each market.
  • Investigate key players. Don't assume that physicians are the key to decisions about what drug gets prescribed, or purchased. Patient decisions and reimbursement coverage may function independently. Cultivating government and the state-owned organizations that often surround it is another useful point of introduction to the decision set.
  • Understand the information needs of the market. Endpoints, comparative effectiveness research, health equity, and observational research typical of mature market drug launching may not align with emerging markets standards. For example, an economic study produced in the US or Europe to demonstrate how use of a drug reduces hospitalization costs may be irrelevant in Russia, where daily hospital charges are sometimes lower than the cost of out-patient treatment with an innovative drug. Build contacts with local academic institutions familiar with health practices and link up with payers as early as possible to establish the threshold for evidence.
  • Listen to the locals. Success in one market does not guarantee expertise in another. Give local affiliates a seat at the table to avoid blind-siding local expertise when key decisions are being made at HQ. Make sure key business support functions like manufacturing are not "US-centric" or "Euro-centric" but are properly aligned globally and thus can address any special needs in the emerging markets.
  • A strong reputation is a major business asset. In many emerging markets, Big Pharma brands are associated with quality. Maintaining that association is vital to long-term success. Forging a local identity as a local company by partnering around issues such as quality and prevention is another tool that can counter the growing tendency toward bias in government polices to promote the commercial interests of home-based companies.


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