In this competitive pharmaceutical market access landscape, payers are preparing budgets and financial forecasts well ahead of product launches, meaning they require product information earlier and earlier in the pre-approval stage. Patti Peeples, PhD of HealthEconomics.com sits down with Xcenda’s National Director of Business Development, Tom Liberta and Head of Manufacturer Strategy, Laurie Fazio, for a deep dive into how FormularyDecisions® facilitates the exchange of information between life sciences companies and payers.
Patti: Can you please explain to us what FormularyDecisions is and how it is used by pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare decision makers?
Laurie: FormularyDecisions is a closed, secure online platform for healthcare decision makers in the United States. They do have to provide their license credentials, their role in formulary decision making, and other attestations in order to be approved for access to the platform. They receive their own login credentials that they have to use every time, which is critically important for our subscribing pharmaceutical companies who want to share information with this community throughout the product’s life cycle. It really is bidirectional in nature in that it provides the opportunity for us to capture activity metrics and product feedback based on the information that’s being contributed so that it’s not a one-point-in-time exchange of information. It provides an opportunity for life sciences organizations to monitor that feedback and refine their messaging.
“It really has become an industry best practice for exchanging information between healthcare decision makers and life sciences companies.”
Patti: From the perspective of the major users, what are their driving reasons for using FormularyDecisions?
“It comes down to really convenience and sort of this “one stop shop” idea, if you will.”
Tom: There’s a lot of content on this platform that these users have come to recognize and utilize in terms of their evaluations and due diligence around products, and they use FormularyDecisions as a “one stop” source. In addition to that core information source, there are a lot of tools, news, and resources that are available to them on the platform to help them do their jobs on a daily basis. At the end of the day, it comes down to convenience and efficiency.
Patti: Let’s dive a little deeper into some of the tools: I understand that there can be some competitive intelligence that can be derived from the platform. Can you talk a little bit more about what insights healthcare decision makers can derive from FormularyDecisions?
Laurie: The insights are more so really from the manufacturer’s perspective in terms of monitoring activity metrics within the platform. Manufacturers can use that competitive landscape to get a better understanding of interest in their own product and in other competitive products. For example, manufacturers can look at how many times a product is added to a watch list to indicate that there is an interest by healthcare decision makers in being notified when newer information is available. We have other feedback based on manufacturer engagement; if they put their dossier onto the platform, we are reporting activity metrics and engagement in terms of time spent within each section, most activity within sections, clicking on hyperlinks, entering in search terms, etc. We’re getting feedback on that dossier to help improve its quality for future versions. What’s important to note is that even though feedback is for the manufacturer to digest, it helps improve what they’re providing to this healthcare decision maker community. We never report at the individual level in terms of metrics or feedback.
“It provides them the opportunity to refine that messaging and ensure they’re reaching the healthcare decision makers with the information that’s most important for them.”
Patti: How have manufacturers utilized this in the pre-approval stage? I think increasingly, manufacturers are thinking about formulary and market access issues earlier and earlier in the drug development timeline. How is FormularyDecisions enabling that to be a better process for a pharmaceutical manufacturer?
Laurie: It depends on the product and where that product is. For example, we know that if a product is potentially going to have a high price tag, healthcare decision makers are probably going to look at that product within that 18+ month timeframe, so they can start to prepare for that from a financial forecasting perspective. From a pharmaceutical company perspective, if you’re in a rare disease, you need to engage earlier with the healthcare decision makers just from an educational standpoint to get that information in front of them.
“We do see that the sweet spot from an engagement perspective both from healthcare decision makers and from life sciences companies is really, on average, in that 6-12 month timeframe.”
“It’s not solely pre-approval; it starts in pre-approval and continues post-launch.”
Patti: Let’s talk numbers: how many life sciences organizations and products are on the platform currently?
Tom: Overall, there’s probably close to 100 different companies that participate as subscribers. At any point in time, you could have as many as 150-200 products that are being featured as subscribing products on the platform, and they can be of all shapes and sizes in terms of blockbusters or niche products.
“It really does span the continuum, if you will, of product types.”
Patti: Can you explain how a manufacturer might use FormularyDecisions to engage? What are the engagement opportunities that are accessible to manufacturers?
Tom: There are multiple opportunities for the manufacturers to engage through the platform. The platform could be a vehicle through which they can make available their product dossiers, which is a fundamental approach in terms of engagement. Beyond that, there are opportunities for manufacturers to utilize what we call a Resource Center, a dedicated space on that product page where you can upload content that you feel is important. It’s an opportunity to engage multiple times, over the course of your subscription, by uploading content on a regular basis. In addition to that, there’s an opportunity for you to highlight some specific aspect of your product message, maybe a product clinical study, through what we call Spotlights. That’s an opportunity for you to billboard some aspect of your product that you think is important for the payers to see.
“At the end of the day, it really comes down to flexibility and choice when it comes to how much engagement you have. The more engagement you do through these different opportunities, the more activity you’re going to see around your product on the platform.”
Patti: It seems like FormularyDecisions offers manufacturers a way to gather market research and analytic insights from what is being viewed from their product content. Can you talk a little bit about the metrics and feedback loop that are available to subscribing manufacturers?
Laurie: With respect to the Resource Center, it’s a tremendous opportunity for manufacturers to post content and get metrics on how many times that file has been viewed or downloaded and trending activity over time. We also have the ability for it to generate field team meeting requests to receive that file or to release that file within the platform. Also, because of the resource center and our survey, we have the opportunity for healthcare decision makers to indicate other content they would like to see. By responding to that and putting up content that healthcare decision makers are asking for, they see more engagement over time. The other opportunity is getting metrics around dossier utilization and suggestions for future versions. For example, a manufacturer might leverage feedback on the dossier in pre-approval to help inform what they’re going to use as an approved product dossier.
Patti: That seems like a really tremendous market research opportunity. In real life, are you seeing manufacturers submitting notably different versions of their dossier based on the feedback they are receiving within the platform from healthcare decision makers?
Laurie: Because the feedback that healthcare decision makers provide is by section, they do look at that feedback. For example, one of the things I see most frequently is that feedback from a healthcare decision maker might be that they’re looking at certain comparison products to be included in that evaluation within the dossier, and they respond to that so future versions will include that.
“I think that’s why it’s critically important that we think about the platform not as this one-point-in-time exchange in information. … The benefit is to get that feedback in an anonymous fashion and use that information to better inform your future engagements with healthcare decision makers.”
Patti: What has surprised you by how FormularyDecisions is being used by both sides of the user base?
Tom: I don’t know if there’s too much that surprises. I think it’s a question more of how often, how much they can use it, how quickly an organization sees that, and how quickly they move to actually take advantage of that.
“The creativity, if you will, of capitalizing on all the information that is coming at them through the platform, whether it’s insights [or] feedback. … That’s really where the value comes home to the clients once they do start to use it.”
Patti: What are some creative ways that manufacturers have utilized FormularyDecisions for insights?
Laurie: What’s interesting is, because we’re used both by large pharma and small pharma, I would say that’s it’s used differently. Large pharma tends to use it to validate feedback they might be receiving from other sources, whether it’s from their field teams or market research that they’re doing independently. They’re also using it to validate product and company perceptions, whereas I see small pharma is using it primarily for reach. They then look at that feedback very closely and leverage it to inform others within their team and update their content.
“The biggest “aha!” moment for me has been when I’ve seen some of our subscribers get feedback that they weren’t anticipating. … They use those insights to say “we need to get more information out” or “our messaging isn’t on target.” … When they leverage it that way, that’s where it’s truly rewarding because it’s leading that experience to a better outcome for both sides.”
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Reach Payers Like Never Before.
FormularyDecisions is the premiere, secure digital platform facilitating the exchange of information between life sciences companies and healthcare decision-makers. With FormularyDecisions, you can increase product awareness and gain a new level of insight on payer perceptions and activity on your product. Share information at all stages of development to ensure your product stands out in the formulary decision-making process.