Med Services Europe Reveals How a Pharmaceutical Company Can Sell a Drug Before it is Approved
Medical marketing and business development expert describes how pharmaceutical companies can generate important revenues while drug development is still in progress
PR9.NET February 09, 2005 - How can a start-up, cash hungry, biotech company generate much needed revenues? Dr. Gene Emmer President of Med Services Europe B.V. (www.MedServicesEurope.com) advises them to consider if a European "named patient program" might be an option.
How can a start-up, cash hungry, biotech company generate much needed revenues? Dr. Gene Emmer President of Med Services Europe B.V. (www.MedServicesEurope.com) advises them to consider if a European "named patient program" might be an option.
A named-patient program allows physicians and their patients access to drugs which have not yet received approval for marketing by national health authorities. "European Named Patient Programs, like US compassionate use programs, offer physicians access to pharmaceuticals which have not yet been licensed" explained Dr. Emmer, "However, there is one important difference: in Europe an unlicensed drug is often purchased by National Health Systems." This presents drug-makers with an opportunity to generate revenues while development is still in-progress.
Significant Revenues Are Possible
The additional revenues can be considerable. For example, a source at Pharmion, a US based company focusing on Oncology and Hematology reported dramatic increases in its Thalidomide sales from $1.9 million in 2Q '03 to $15.3 million in 2Q '04, primarily due to named patient sales in Europe for Multiple Myeloma. Thalidomide sales accounted for approximately 75% of Pharmion's total revenues for the first half of 2004, according to company sources, and were generated while the product awaits marketing approval for this indication. Before receiving European Marketing Approval, Shire's Argylin® for essential thrombocythaemia generated about 5% of its total sales from its European named patient program.
Frequent Communication is Necessary
If one of the objectives is to generate revenues, setting up a named patient program is just the beginning. In order to achieve success, physicians need to be aware of the product and what they need to do to get it. Typical methods of informing physicians, such as sales rep visits and ads, may not be appropriate because a license is necessary to market a drug. While physicians are used to simply writing a prescription and being done with it, named patient programs require paper-work that some find tedious. Therefore the company needs to create an appropriate communication plan and work closely with the targeted medical community to keep them informed and simplify the process.
Issues to Consider
You have decided to make a named patient program part of your pre-marketing plan, what now?
If you do not have an experienced European marketing group, an organization that is familiar in sales and marketing of pharmaceuticals in Europe can help you to maximize participation in the named patient program. A communication plan, if properly developed and implemented can increase product awareness, but communication concerning an unlicensed product must be done appropriately. This plan should ensure that your entire target group:
• Is fully aware of the product AND the program
• Knows what needs to be done to take advantage of the program
• Has an advocate available to guide them through the process
The Author, Dr Gene Emmer, is President of Med Services Europe B.V., a European-based company which conducts business development for Pharmaceutical, Diagnostic, Biotech, Medical Equipment and Medical Device manufacturers. We specialize in building and managing distributor networks for medical manufacturers in Eastern and Western Europe. www.MedServicesEurope.com +31648566707
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About Med Services Europe B.V.
About the Author: Dr. Gene Emmer is President of Med Services Europe (http://www.NewDisability.com).
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