#pharmaceutical — In the last blog post, I introduced a new real life case study where a pharmaceutical company re-introduced a rather dormant product that was a hormone replacement drug to compete with the market leader which has been a blockbuster drug for years. This type of scenario is always a major challenge for pharmaceutical sales management as well as their marketing counterparts since it seems like a David and Goliath situation.
Both drugs relieved menopausal discomfort symptoms in female patients. But the interesting thing about this re-introduced drug was that rather than being derived from horse urine as the market leader was, it was sourced from a soybean plant.
Chemically, it was altered to be identical to the estrogen hormone found in humans. So in essence, this drug was considered more ‘natural’ than the market leader in two ways.
First, rather than subjecting live horses to a urine extraction process and then using a product derived from horse urine, this other drug was made from plants. Secondly, rather than being a cocktail of horse hormones, this other product was identical to the human estrogen which implied that its use would not involve putting a foreign substance into the human body. The company’s marketing team as well as pharmaceutical sales management jumped onto these two main factors about their product as they wanted to really push these differences.
News about this alternative to the market leader made its way around groups of menopausal women and they wanted to switch to this drug rather than stay on something made from ‘horse pee’. Drug reps for this alternative drug went to see their physician customers and promoted the natural aspects. They also made physicians aware of published clinical studies which proved that the ‘natural’ drug resulted in a lower rate of side effects as well when compared to the market leader, possibly due to its identical chemical structure to the human hormone.
Many physicians, particularly female doctors, embraced this alternative right away by starting all newly diagnosed patients on this drug and offering a switch for existing patients currently on the market leader.
The drug reps also asked physicians whether they were getting requests from patients for the natural drug and most admitted that there was indeed patient demand out there. So these drug reps did a smart thing by reinforcing the existing patient demand for their product. Most doctors, even the resistant ones, did give in and switched their patients to the more natural drug when their patients requested it.
This alternative drug to the market leader became first line therapy for many physicians and did put a dent in the sales of the market leader much to the delight of pharmaceutical sales management and the sales force that promoted this more natural drug product.
We will look at the lesson and significance behind this interesting pharmaceutical sales case study in the next blog post.