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However, it faced formidable opposition at the time of its introduction from payers for its hefty price tag. With a view to counter pricing challenges, Gilead created and executed a launch plan that ensured Sovaldi found a place on payers' formularies, was accessible for those lacking coverage/resources and dominated the competition. Also, it overcame market resistance with its superior patient support programs, strategic worldwide pricing, and effective public relations campaigns.
This case study from Best Practices, LLC reviews the strategies and tactics utilized by Gilead to accelerate Sovaldi’s path to success. In particular, the study looks at how Gilead countered the backlash over Sovaldi’s $84,000 cost and how payers adjusted to the product’s price tag. The study also highlights a nine-step analysis of key tactics/strategies for a new product launch. Additionally, it reviews the predatory patent challenges that Gilead faced after it became clear it had a blockbuster and how Harvoni helped propel the company’s hepatitis C franchise.
Best Practices, LLC conducted extensive secondary research to review key aspects of Sovaldi’s launch, including prevalence of Hep C, Sovaldi’s method of action, key aspects of its product launch, results of launch, payers’ reaction to pricing, Gilead’s response to pricing criticism, patent challenges and the entrance of Harvoni.
· Target Patient Population: Gilead benefitted from a “triple dose” of good fortune: (1) a large patient population, (2) many diagnosed but untreated patients, and (3) a market eager for better treatments.
· Patient Support: Patient support is instrumental at launch for expensive treatments. Gilead made superior patient support a cornerstone of launch and market access.
· Cannibalization: Embrace “planned obsolescence” of 1st-generation product to ensure sustained market leadership.
Table of Contents
§ Playbook of a Blockbuster: Key Insights from Sovaldi & Harvoni’s Launch Year Success
§ Birth of A Specialty Medicine Blockbuster -The First Oral Cure for Hepatitis Virus C (HCV)
§ Having The Insight & Expertise To Envision Transforming HCV Treatment Paradigm
§ The Seeds of Success: Sovaldi Method of Action Moved Therapy From Treatment to Cure
§ The Seeds of Success: Epidemiology of Hepatitis C Created A Tsunami of Global Unmet Need
§ Market Entry History: The Back Story of The New Blockbuster Model
§ Sovaldi Launches Like A Rocket Ship
§ Other Noteworthy Market-Entry Tactics and Practices
§ Pricing New Therapies Offers Multiple Risk Frontiers
§ Public Reaction Ranged From Jubilation To Outrage
§ The Global Launch & Pricing Strategy Divided The World Into Key Regions
§ Payers Crafted Different Strategies Both To Access The New Therapy & Manage Its High Price
§ Where Blockbusters Grow, Patent Challengers Quickly Spring up
§ By Its First “Birthday” Gilead’s HVC Franchise Had Rewritten Biopharma Launch History – But Still Faced Many Challenges