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5 tips on bringing a ‘shelved’ pharma product back to life

Updated: Feb 25

Have you ever inherited a portfolio of pharmaceutical products only to be told by your predecessor that half of them aren’t worth taking a look at because “they’ve been shelved”, “we’ve looked at this one and there’s zero chance of reimbursement” and the list goes on… Well, I love those products because I’ve always been determined to go against the grain.


These are my 5 tips for bringing those poor little brands out of the closet and giving them, and their patients a new lease of life – no pun intended. 


1.    Don’t leave any stone unturned. I remember sifting through two massive feasibility assessments on one particular product and some of the statements simply didn’t make sense. A few KOL one on one discussions later and the whole treatment algorithm was turned on its head and the rest is history, and a happy ending in this case.


2.    Speak to KOLs, you might be very surprised. I remember meeting a couple of KOLs on a particular product and they admitted that they were delighted (their words not mine) that we were re-looking at it… This is gold. Use it. What a fantastic day out of the office that was… 


3.    Be open to ideas from everyone in your cross-functional team. We were tearing our hair out trying to come up with a pricing scenario for a very expensive product and our medical director came up with a creative strategy. You know who you are and I’m so pleased I listened to you…


4.    Leverage company-wide "Innovation-boosting Initiatives"… Usually people roll their eyes when you come in as the new bushy tailed commercial leader on a portfolio of brands they believe they know better and you start challenging preconceived ideas. I’ve been there… But launch your ‘project’ under one of those Corporate “let’s innovate’’ banners, complete with yearly awards and all that good stuff…and all of a sudden people want to be a part of it. Harness that! And the team is a superstar when the product finally launches. Happy Days.


5.    Be strategic. My favourite of course… Don’t just look at the product on its own. It might not be massive in sales but if it adds to the story of your company being committed to the therapy area then it is totally worth it. Again, I spent hours defending, launching small brands to achieve exactly that. And it worked a treat.


What are your top tips? Like this? Want more? Get in touch with me at Haven 35.

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