The Case for an Alternative Channel Strategy in 2024 and Beyond

6-Company News

By Scott Hughes, Vice President of Business Development at Phil

A major challenge for life science companies that manufacture specialty-lite therapies is finding a channel strategy that offers the level of access services patients and healthcare providers (HCPs) need at a price point that supports the brand's financial health. Typically, brand teams string together a network of brick-and-mortar retail or specialty pharmacies and either work with multiple vendors to build a traditional call-center-based hub or rely on the specialty pharmacies to provide these services. The result is that the brands' gross-to-net cannot sustainably support this channel strategy. To mitigate this challenge and future-proof their specialty-lite brands, manufacturers should consider adopting an alternative channel strategy that is digital and integrated across the prescription journey.   

Long-established channel strategies are falling short 

In today's world, consumers increasingly demand seamless healthcare experiences and expect to receive their prescriptions conveniently and affordably. Retail and specialty pharmacies play a pivotal role in the distribution, fulfillment, and reimbursement of medications, yet may be limited in their ability to meet the expectations of patients facing access barriers.   

Retail pharmacies do not have the resources and are often too busy to pursue prior authorizations (PA) on behalf of patients and HCPs. Specialty pharmacies may not be incentivized to fill specialty-lite prescriptions because the prices are too low to justify providing the support services needed to obtain coverage. In either case, pharmacies may utilize uncovered manufacturer coupons as an easier, more profitable path to securing fulfillment. 

For manufacturers that go with a traditional call-center-based hub, this costly endeavor results in poor ROI for specialty-lite brands. It also fails to deliver the experience today's consumers want, diminishing patient access.

Streamlining the patient access journey

The patient and HCP experience with a manufacturer's access services is a significant differentiator for both specialty and specialty-lite brands. To be successful in this space, life science companies must work effectively with channel partners to employ digital solutions that integrate across the prescription journey, meeting patients – and providers – where they are today. 

An integrated digital channel helps manufacturers better meet the access needs of patients with the ability to: 

  • Deliver a seamless and personalized patient experience that facilitates program enrollment and engagement, which boosts access. 

  • Integrate into HCP workflows to streamline the PA process, which can lead to more covered prescriptions. 

  • Provide more transparency around out-of-pocket costs, financial assistance, PA status, and prescription and refill status to support decision-making.

Succeeding with an integrated digital channel in 2024

A digital channel with end-to-end integration allows manufacturers to leverage advanced analytics so brand teams can have a complete picture of the patient access journey – from the point of prescribing to the point of dispensing – and even down to the territory level. With this information in hand, they can evaluate the effectiveness of their commercialization efforts and adjust business rule parameters when needed to continuously improve covered scripts, affordability, and adherence while supporting the brand's financial health. 

By partnering with Phil, you gain access to a nationwide pharmacy network with 98% plan coverage that allows patients to receive prescribed therapy quickly, conveniently, and affordably. Our digital platform helps more patients get started and adhere to treatment, automates prior authorizations, and enables manufacturer-driven coupon utilization. Real-time insights give you strategic visibility into the entire prescription journey. 

Just as importantly, you can ensure your teams coalesce around driving the preferred channel for brand success. PhilRx generates real-time data down to the territory level, which allows field teams to have insight into how the digital channel increases HCP engagement and covered scripts. When the field teams' performance incentives align with the company's brand goals, they will be motivated to drive more scripts through that channel.   

To learn more about how to build an integrated digital channel for your specialty-lite brand, download our Life Sciences Hub Design Playbook

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