Developing a new drug is an incredibly costly, time-consuming, and high-risk venture. In the 21st century, it typically takes ten years and over $2.6 billion for a pharmaceutical manufacturer to move a drug from its initial discovery into the marketplace.
While getting an innovative treatment approved for patient use is a major milestone, it’s just the beginning and certainly does not ensure the brand’s commercial success. It takes an extensive, coordinated effort to successfully take a new drug from FDA approval into patients’ hands. Given that a considerable investment has already been made to make the drug available to patients, it's up to the commercial team to develop a go-to-market model that delivers the best ROI possible. Pharmaceutical manufacturers would be wise to strategically reduce commercialization inefficiencies and improve margins through outsourcing, Lean initiatives, and data analytics.
As research and development costs continue to soar, life sciences companies are under increasing pressure to optimize revenue generation for their brands. Since go-to-market strategies can be complex, resource intensive, and expensive, outsourcing pharmaceutical drug commercialization to third-party experts can yield significant cost savings and operational efficiencies while enhancing the probability of commercial success. Pharmaceutical companies can avoid major infrastructure, software, and personnel investments by adopting vendor solutions that integrate their marketing and commercialization processes. This strategy enables them to focus their budget on building and maximizing the value propositions of their brands by:
The successful implementation of “Lean Manufacturing” at Toyota inspired organizations worldwide to adopt a Lean management approach. The Lean Enterprise Institute describes the concept as “a way of thinking about creating needed value with fewer resources and less waste.” According to the Virginia Mason Institute, Lean healthcare is about “implementing processes that add value from a patient perspective - and eliminating or improving those that don’t.” The organization also points out that while “cost savings aren’t the focus of Lean management, they are often an outcome.”
Many U.S. healthcare organizations have successfully executed lean management principles, reporting better patient outcomes, lower costs of care, higher patient experience scores, and improvements in productivity.
The pharmaceutical sector, however, has been a late adopter of the approach, with many companies struggling to sustain their Lean initiatives. This challenge is partly because the focus has been primarily on manufacturing operations, and an entrenched silo mentality has limited the potential value of lean practice.
By adopting Lean principles across the entire supply chain, pharma manufacturers can realize significant efficiency benefits that will give them a competitive edge. For emerging life science companies that want to commercialize their own products, using a Lean approach can help with identifying the best areas to focus internal resources and where it makes the most sense to outsource.
Pharma supply chains generate large volumes of data – historical sales data, supplier performance data, insurance coverage data, point of sale consumer data, and much more – from which commercialization teams can glean insights to drive down costs and increase revenue. However, these data sources are often underutilized. According to data from IBM, 84% of chief supply chain officers report that their biggest challenge is a lack of supply chain visibility.
From drug discovery and development to manufacturing, distribution, and fulfillment, advances in digital technology and analytics are opening opportunities at every stage of the pharmaceutical product’s life cycle.
When pharma and life science companies leverage the latest digital technologies to analyze their supply chain data in real-time, they gain a clearer picture of what’s happening across the supply chain. Greater visibility will enable teams to identify inefficiencies and opportunities to reduce costs. Leaders can then make informed decisions to improve efficiency, decrease waste, reduce operational risks, and enhance the experience for all stakeholders.
Excellent clinical trial results do not guarantee commercial success. You need a go-to-market strategy that optimizes your ROI and ensures your product reaches its full commercialization potential.
Phil’s “channel-in-a-box” solution enables life science companies to optimize the commercialization of their drugs effectively and efficiently. For more information on partnering with Phil, visit phil.us/manufacturers.