The hardest part about the new product launching is the uncertainty. But the key to manage the launch successfully is to have an integrated early approach.
What are the best strategies to prepare the market for a new drug with an effective medical affairs launch?
The key to a successful launch is an integrated early approach. I believe this can only be fostered in a collaboration setting in which medical affairs have equity in all launch activities, not least in the mapping, insights gather and pre-launch interactions with key stakeholders. Crucially, medical knowledge and context development must start earlier to align the core messages, narrative and clarity around the new drug. The measures for medical activity, whilst still rooted in traditional KPIs are moving towards more qualitative considerations of share of scientific voice. Independent reviews and scientific research to support the drug are key tactics to driving drug awareness and closing data gaps. To expand access to healthcare providers, specifically Key External Experts (KEEs) it is important to engage with scientifically relevant advisory boards, highlighting the unmet need and getting their involvement to derive suitable patient populations. Advocacy is essential for successful reimbursement, and medical affairs must monitor competing interests and build an early foundational understanding of the drug.
What are the hardest and the easiest aspects of product launching during these times?
Hardest aspect is the uncertainties – be they around interactions with KEEs/HCPs, reimbursement timelines and ever shifting meeting schedules, or accounting for the impact on patient management.
Easiest – to collaborate and enjoy the work as an adventure whilst keeping the end in mind, which for me is to improve patient outcomes through greater access to appropriate treatment.
What do you think is a vision for medical affairs by 2025?
I like the McKinsey report (A vision for medical affairs in 2025 | McKinsey), specifically that medical affairs is the core driver to becoming the partner with prescribers, researchers and patients by transforming the way they engage with industry. To this end the industry must adapt to empower medical affairs an equitable seat at every table where they cross-pollenate ideas and consider access and cost effectiveness solutions as early as the first regulatory considerations.
Inaam HAQ is a Medical Director at Daiichi Sankyo Europe. Integral in the launch team for new cardiovascular products, Inaam collaborates cross-functionally to drive medical excellence in all workstreams in which he is involved. Entering the pharmaceutical industry in quality assurance 18 years, Inaam has had a varied career in healthcare management, pharmaceutical medical affairs and clinical trials, interspersed with his postgraduate academic research consisting of an MRes and PhD. In his current role as Medical Director, Inaam leads on workstreams such as Lifecycle Management, medical information and engagement, KPIs, and systems integration.