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Jan122018

Accenture’s Advice to Pharma: It’s The Evidence, Stupid.

Accenture’s Advice to Pharma: It’s The Evidence, Stupid.
 

By Clive Riddle, January 12, 2018

 

Remember when Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign mantra was “it’s the economy, stupid”?  Accenture advises the pharmaceutical industry to substitute evidence for economy in that equation and focus more on evidence-based solutions than products or brand.

 

Accenture has just released 16-page report: Product Launch: The Patient Has Spoken in which they conclude “brands are not major influencing factors when patients consider new pharmaceutical products. More than two-thirds (69 percent) of patients surveyed said the product’s benefits – i.e., treatment outcomes – are more important than the brand itself, with less than one-third (31 percent) citing a strong affinity to brands in a healthcare setting.”

 

Accenture tells us that for the report, they commissioned a survey of 8,000 patients in France, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S across eight therapeutic areas – immunology, cardiology, pulmonology, neurology, oncology, rheumatology, endocrinology and eye disease. Respondents represented three main age demographics: baby boomers, Gen Xers and millennials.

 

Accenture shared the following findings:

 

When patients were asked which factors influence their healthcare product and treatment decisions:

·         66% cited the doctor/physician relationship

·         55% indicated the ability to maintain their current lifestyle

·         53% said ease of access to the care they’ll need

·         But just 31% listed brand loyalty or popularity, and this ranked twelfth out of 14 influencing factors

 

The report notes that patient perspectives include:

·         38 % said they feel very knowledgeable about new or existing products coming to market for their condition

·         25 % reported having either very limited or no knowledge of new products that might be suitable for them

·         48 % believe that their doctors discuss the full range of product options with them

·         44 % feel that they have significant input into their treatment selection

·         63 % said they want to be involved in such decisions

·         47% said they’ve thought about switching their treatment at some point

·         62%of those who think about switching end up doing so

 

So if it isn’t product and brand, what does drive patient treatment choice decisions? Accenture says “despite survey results showing that many patients look online for information about new treatments, physicians remain the primary influencer of their treatment choices. In fact, the reason patients cited most often for switching treatments was a recommendation from their physician (cited by 81 percent of patients who switched treatments), followed by proven benefits compared to current treatment (79 percent) and fewer side-effects than their current treatment (78 percent).”

 

Regarding demographics, the survey “findings also identified differences in attitude and behavior by age group, with younger patients more likely than older ones to understand which treatments are available—and switch treatments when they believe there’s something better. For instance, while physician recommendation was the most-cited reason across all age groups for switching treatment, Millennials are almost twice as likely as Baby Boomers to be influenced by people posting alternative treatment options on social media.”

 

Of course what the report doesn’t focus on regarding treatment decisions is the role of insurance coverage, cost-sharing and formularies. But Accenture’s message in this value based era should still resonate. Accenture’s Jim Cleffi, a co-author of the report, tells us “given the significant budgets pharmaceutical companies devote to driving brand equity in the marketplace, our report findings should be a strong signal to the industry that launch strategies need to change. Patients in our study made it clear that outcomes matter most which means that pharma companies should focus their launch strategies and communications more on patient value and impact versus the brand—and do so in a much more precise and personalized way. Reallocating parts of launch budgets to programs that resonate the most with different patient segments would not only better meet patients’ needs and deliver better outcomes, but likely provide the companies with better ROI.”

 

Accenture provides pharma two recommendations in the report:

1)    Bring an outcome – not just a product – to market. Patients value outcomes over brands, so instead of launching just products, pharmaceutical companies should start launching evidence-based solutions, or products with services as a secondary offering. This will require collaborative data-sharing – between patients, providers and payers – along with advanced analytics to generate robust insights and delivery via digital channels. This mindset should begin at the clinical trial-stage so it informs new launch strategies and full commercialization.

2)    Make it personal and precise. One size no longer fits all; pharmaceutical companies need to understand patient sub-segments and develop value-driven launch strategies tailored to each segment. Harnessing advanced analytics and other new technologies that leverage the proliferation of health data will help enable companies to modify launch strategies that make new treatments more relevant to patients while also driving better-informed resource and investment allocations.

 

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