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Are your Therapies Getting to the Patients that Need Them? It May be Time to Reframe your Market Access Strategy.


Brand Insights - Thought Leadership | Paid Program

Big investments don’t necessarily reap big rewards. The average cost to bring a pharmaceutical asset to market has reached $2 billion,1 yet more than a third (36%) of all new launches in the United States fail to meet expectations.2 As product and marketing teams approach the annual brand planning season, the importance of market access strategy—one of the primary contributors to launch success and failure3 --moves to the forefront.

Market access strategy and execution is an essential component for enabling success for both new therapy introductions and therapies that are expanding their indication sets—increasingly, across a range of distinct therapeutic areas. Executing successful launches through Market Access Excellence is not only essential for delivering on business objectives but also for connecting the appropriate patients to necessary therapies. Furthermore, successful access is critical to building trust with stakeholders: patients who need new therapies, providers who prescribe and administer treatments, payers that pay for them, and researchers and investors who contribute to innovation.

Our research suggests that the standardized, one-size-fits-all approach to market access strategy may no longer be sufficient, as the marketplace and technologies have evolved to a place of greater specificity and specialization. As a result, we have found that it is necessary to consider the unique therapeutic archetype of the product to help optimize market access success.

We propose a therapeutic archetype framework that can help improve product launch effectiveness and deliver on the brand ambition (figure 1).

In our work supporting product launches across a range of therapeutic categories, we have come to recognize five launch archetypes that account for stakeholders’ growing sophistication in managing increasingly complex and expensive treatments, as well as the shift of drug pipelines from high-volume therapies to narrowly defined patient populations. While there are a range of contributing factors, we have found that these archetypes differ across a range of criteria:

  • Patient characteristics, such as population size, demographics, and distribution by payer type/book of business
  • Disease area maturity that considers the disease, the existence and evolution of the standard of care, established treatment pathways and standards of care, reimbursement pathways
  • Product characteristics, including therapy complexity, technology, and mechanism of action, product profile, and mode of administration
  • Therapeutic benefit: Prevention versus treatment versus cure
  • Competitive intensity

As therapeutic launches become more complex, enabling and maintaining cross-functional coordination increases in importance. Keys to effectiveness include top-down leadership alignment and endorsement; engagement and agreement on goals, roles and responsibilities, and clearly defined milestones across process design and execution; consistent application of framework, language, and approach across brands and functions; and launch integration with core business and brand planning processes with a one-to-three-year time horizon.

A market access methodology that considers strategic choices, therapeutic archetypes, and differential considerations for new launches or expansions can help companies more effectively bring their therapies to market (figure 2).

In a recently published paper, we dig deeper into the therapeutic archetype framework designed to help pharma companies concurrently improve the effectiveness of their product launches and build trust with consumers and stakeholders. Read more.


  1. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/life-sciences-and-health-care/articles/measuring-return-from-pharmaceutical-innovation.html.
  2. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/life-sciences/successful-drug-launch-strategy.html.
  3. Ibid.

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