Three of the top-eight bestselling drugs of all time will soon be facing competition from generics. When generic drugs are in play, the ability of the brand-name drugs to remain competitive will depend on the willingness of the sales department to adapt and evolve. Intimate product knowledge – from side effects to REMS to risks – will be the most powerful tool of the salespeople who manage this coming transition.
A Changing Landscape
According to the infographic “Pharma Billion Dollar Blockbusters,” Lipitor remains the single best-selling drug of all time when measured in peak annual sales. Pfizer earned $13.7 billion in sales from Lipitor in 2006 – the height of the statin therapy drug’s popularity. Lipitor – along with Remicade and Lantus, the sixth and eighth best-selling drugs – will soon face generic competition, which changes the sales landscape for the entire industry.
The New Sales Dynamic
Intimate knowledge of the drug – as well as the clinical data surrounding its potential, its uses and its risks – is half of the equation for the salespeople who will soon be fending off generic competition for the first time. The other half of the solution lies in the ability of the salesperson to develop and maintain trust-based relationships with physicians. Sales teams must have quality leads and reliable qualifying methodology if they are going to succeed in identifying the doctors who are likely to turn into the best prospects.
The realities of caring for an aging population means that drugs focused on chronic health issues will continue to dominate the list of top sellers. Biologics are poised do be a driving force, and any pharmaceutical company that develops a breakthrough cancer drug will be the only game in town. Right now, there isn’t a single cancer drug on the entire list. Either way, success will depend on the ability of the sales team to adapt to a changing landscape.