Pharmaceutical Lifecycle Management and Healthcare Reform

August 27, 2010 at 10:30 AM Leave a comment

Healthcare reform will have a significant impact on lifecycle management of pharmaceuticals.  As we will demonstrate over the next few days, healthcare reform will offer drug companies many new levers to pull to support the appropriate use of their drugs.  Healthcare reform is much, much more than expanding towards universal coverage.

First, let’s start with a definition of lifecycle management (LCM).    Based on conversations with many drug company marketers, lifecycle management is defined as maximizing a drug’s profits during its commercial life.  Almost all marketers suggest that a drug’s commercial life begins at launch and ends due to one or more of the following factors…

  • Patent expiration of the branded drug and the launch of multiple generic competitors that cost significantly less than the branded drug.
  • The launch of branded alternatives that offer a significant clinical and/or economic advantage.
  • A change in treatment algorithm that shifts preference away from a branded drug.

LCM planning begins during Phase II or, more likely, early Phase III trials.  However, implementation of LCM strategies and tactics begins after the drug’s launch.   Implementation begins at that time as, after launch, a drug demonstrates its commercial viability, the potential return on investment (ROI) from additional investments and the needs of clinicians and patients outside of a controlled environment (ie, clinical trials). 

Most LCM strategies and tactics are implemented within a few years after a drug’s launch as that provides time to generate a sufficient ROI.  Many LCM strategies (eg, clinical trials) take many years to plan, implement and yield an acceptable ROI. 

Many attributes of LCM differ significantly from those of day-to-day marketing

Lifecycle Management Day-to-Day Marketing
Starts years prior to drug launch Starts one year prior to drug launch
LCM focuses on long-term strategic positioning Day-to-day marketing focuses on such short-term issues as…

n  Increasing quarter-to-quarter sales.

n  Driving increased awareness of a drug.

n  Sales training.

n  Supporting sales as it addresses day-to-day customer issues.

n  Developing educational programs that facilitate utilization of the drug.

n  Positioning a drug compared to therapeutic alternatives.

Multi-disciplinary Mostly self-contained within the marketing department
Global focus to maximize ROI Regional focus (eg, U.S., Europe) to meet local healthcare needs


Lifecycle management is a complex initiative and some drug companies dedicate staff to planning and implementing LCM initiatives.  Other drug companies assign LCM responsibilities as part of a marketer’s overall responsibilities.  With either approach, the long-term success of a product requires spending sufficient time and creativity to develop winning LCM strategies.


Entry filed under: Healthcare Economics, Healthcare Reform, Lifecycle Management. Tags: , , , , .

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