Innovative Methodologies in Action
How to make biosimilars better?
When Neil Armstrong set his foot on the moon 45 years ago, neither NASA nor any of its 500 subcontractors involved in the Apollo program had done it before. To make a giant leap, each of them had to make a small step out of their comfort zone and accept that they would perform something that had never been done before.
The same goes with pharmaceutical business insights executives. All actively seek partners who can effectively differentiate themselves by demonstrating innovative techniques and possessing the ability to present impactful and actionable results. Unfortunately, many are initially hesitant to commit to new methodologies without reassurances on the reliability and validity of new methods.
“Have you ever done this before?” is a question we often hear when presenting innovative methodologies. Sometimes we have not, but some of our clients have “the right stuff” and the necessary leadership to push the envelope with us.
In the following case study, a leading executive recognized the value of employing innovative methodologies to generate change, and was willing to make this little step with us.
A manufacturer of biosimilars (which, by definition, are not innovative products) wanted to find ways to differentiate their products and make them more appealing to specialty pharmacists.
To understand unmet needs, this manufacturer had attempted, with another vendor, to conduct traditional ethnographic research but they were unable to find pharmacists willing to have a third party interfering in their workspace. Doing it the same old way was not going to cut it.
Medimix proposed an innovative intrusive mobile ethnography solution.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words and video is worth a thousand pictures hospital pharmacists were recruited and asked to document the steps in the IV preparation process with pictures and videos taken by themselves with a specific app on a smart phone.
The ubiquitousness of easy-to-use mobile technology was a key factor in having pharmacists share of facets of their daily practices.
Thanks to this method, Medimix project team was able to observe “in situ” the storage and preparation of actual biosimilars, offering a much better understanding of pharmacists environment and constraints than regular expert interviews.
Specific aspects such as the chain of cold, the storage of compound and the safety of the preparation were carefully studied.
Pharmacists were asked to answer questions about each step involved in the preparing process of IV oncology drugs as well. These questions could also be answered on their mobile device.
This method provided a clear understanding of how the layout of the work environment in hospital pharmacies across the country impacts the capacity and efficiency of IV drug preparation.
Easily implementable improvements such as changing the location of bar codes and package size were recommended to increase the efficiency of the work flow.
Many other innovations were proposed, some about the dosage of the product, other about the client support and others about the safety of the operators during preparation.
The manufacturer was also able to build equity by listening to what its customers had to share.
This case demonstrated the benefit of using new ways to engage customers, listen to what they have to say and provide solutions to bolster a company’s image of being responsive, even with a product which is not labeled “innovative”.
When executed properly, innovative market insights facilitate the:
- Engagement of HCPs outside of a traditional market research setting, resulting in insights which may have been overlooked.
- Rapid discovery of insights that may otherwise take longer with traditional methods.
Dare to make a first step with us, so that together we make giant leaps!
For more information on how innovative methodologies can help you implement a culture of change, you can contact me directly.
Henry Gazay, CEO and Founder Medimix International
Tel + 1 973-845-4378
Kathryn McAdam, BD Director