HIV drug winners and losers: How are market barriers impacting prescribing habits?
HIV drugs have come a long way since the 80s when the FDA approved the first antiviral medicine zidovudine (ZDV; AZT) for use in preventing HIV replication. From monotherapy to combination drugs and innovative mechanisms of action, the HIV drug market in 2017 has plenty of players including the two latest new entrants, Genvoya and Descovy.
This market is one where share remains tightly packed. Both in the US and Europe, levels of price sensitivity and prescribing patterns are similar, which means that the impact of market barriers can make a significant difference to drug revenues.
Market Access Impact: HIV reveals the results of a FirstWord survey of 100 infectious disease specialists and general practitioners in the US and another 150 in Europe. It lifts the lid on HIV prescribing patterns and their positive and negative impact on market share for the leading drugs available.
Scrutinising the nuances of a crowded market
Delving into the specific barriers experienced by each brand uncovers some interesting results. For example, in the US, most physicians surveyed agree they would prescribe a particular brand, however they also highlight problems with its cost and availability. So, in this case, the clinical rationale is strong, but clearly specific barriers are obstructing actual usage. Conversely, in Europe, the same brand features strongly as 'only recommended for certain patient types' – which could mean that European product labelling is adversely influencing treatment patterns. These are exactly the kind of nuances that market access teams need to know about.
Barriers are impacting the bottom line
For some brands, barriers are changing the market share split and these fluctuations have a direct impact on revenue. This report shows that for HIV drugs this is significant, to the point where one new entrant would overtake one of the long-standing big hitters if barriers were removed. Obviously, a market completely devoid of barriers is unlikely, however, the dynamics can and do change, and the impact of specific barriers can be minimised with effective market access strategies. Clearly newer players are making their mark.
Knowing where to focus attention
Understanding the key drivers underpinning prescribing habits is key to improving share. This report specifically examines what stops physicians choosing an individual brand, as well as who benefits as a result. It is clear that some HIV drugs are enjoying a net gain in market share thanks to the effect of prescribing barriers, whilst at the same time others are losing out.
Within the HIV drug marketplace, lack of awareness is not an issue as the proportion of physicians claiming not to know about any of the 10 HIV brands surveyed was negligible. But lack of availability is a different story – for one brand much more so than the rest. Clearly getting on to the formulary should be the primary focus for some.
Navigating in the dark
In a close-knit market with high awareness and plenty of options, standing out from the rest is a challenge. This report provides an opportunity to gain ground by exploring prescribing decisions on a drug-by-drug basis, understanding the barriers that each one comes up against, and seeing the impact on decision-making. By comparing an individual brand alongside its competitors, marketers can navigate more easily towards the messaging and market access strategies that will offer the best results.
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