John Giannouris, Vice President, Specialty Data Strategy, and Consulting Services

For many specialty product manufacturers, selecting a data aggregator is a key step when preparing to launch a new therapy. You may look to a data aggregator to bring together and manage data sets from the specialty pharmacy, patient services hub, and copay vendor that you’ve lined up to support your product. However, while those steps are important, they may not be sufficient.

In today’s world, you need to go beyond data aggregation get more details in an earlier post. Think more broadly about what data is available and how you could use it to support your commercial business. Be proactive about exploring how to bring data together to support your brand strategy and your forecasted growth – and to ensure you’re reaching the right patients and providing the right services to those patients at the right time.

How might that look in the real world?

Consider your data source options

Suppose you have a therapy being supported only through pharmacy benefit, with 100% of your product being distributed through a single specialty pharmacy (SP). In addition, you engage a patient services hub to ensure that information about patients and prescribers is collected early and upfront. The patient services hub also provides patient education and maintains a connection back to healthcare professionals’ offices to help complete referral forms and the like. You might think getting data from those two sources is sufficient to run your commercial business. And it might be, except that your product is a third-in-line therapy.

Consequently, your data strategy should consider how to proactively identify physicians whose patients are on their second line of therapy and might be at risk of failing. Will the data from your SP and hub arm you with those insights? Or, more likely, will you only be receiving information on patients when physicians actually take action to put them on your third-in-line therapy? As a third-line therapy provider, you need access to data before those patients and their physicians are ready to act so that you can start promoting and engaging the providers.

In fact, even before your product launches, you may be able to gain insight into providers who already have patients on a competitive second-line therapy. In those cases, you can have a medical science liaison contact the provider’s office to share clinical trials information. Once your product is approved, your sales reps and field reimbursement staff can begin reaching out to the provider’s team with promotional materials.

Evaluate post-launch data options

Following launch, you’ll want to think through the types of data you will need to capture when patients are referred to your therapy. Knowing that your product is a third-in-line therapy, you’ll need to find out what products patients tried prior to yours. For example, is the trend that 80% of patients were on one first-line therapy, and 20% were on another? As you formulate your specialty data strategy, make sure you build in mechanisms for attaining those insights on switching. A sophisticated data partner will work with you early on – pre-commercialization – to sort through those and other touch points.

Most data aggregators will gather information from the sources you ask them to work with. If you’re launching a new rare-disease therapy with zero competition, that may be enough. But if you aren’t, seek out a partner that brings much more to the table – highlighting bigger-picture, longer-term opportunities to take a more nuanced and advanced approach that will give you the deep insights you need to drive commercial success.

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