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All the existing pharmaceutical companies and the ones who are planning to enter into this market have one thing in common that they have to essentially have antibiotics in their assortment. Obviously because this group forms one of the biggest therapeutic groups in Pakistan pharmaceutical market and as such is very lucrative from the commercial view point.
Moreover, the way antibiotics are prescribed and self-medicated here, has few examples in the world. This unbridled consumption practice, albeit unethical, makes it even more attractive in business terms.
As such in this fiercely competitive environment one needs to have a well-curated plan to market anti-infective.
I wish to share my experience of selling anti-infective which was assimilated during my three-day training at Karachi Lab and then the launch and selling of products like Tarivid (Ofloxacin) and Claforan (Cefotaxime). Some of the points have been taken from the systems currently in practice.
Generally, the following products are in frequent consumption. Just to mention few here as example:
Assuming that company ‘A’ has following products in its assortment and plans to market all of them at one time.
1st Generation Cephalosporin
2nd Generation Cephalosporin
Cefuroxime, Cefaclor Monohydrate
3rd Generation Cephalosporin
Cefoperazone Sodium + Sulbactam Sodium, Cefixime Trihydrate, Ceftazidime, Ceftriaxone Sodium, Cefotaxime Sodium,
Erythromycin, Azithromycin, Roxithromycin, Clarithromycin
Ciprofloxacin HCl, Ofloxacin, Gemifloxacin, Levofloxacin, Moxifloxacin HCl
Gentamicin, Tobramycin, Amikacin Sulphate
Fosfomycin Calcium, Oxazolidinone, Clindamycin, Rifampicin
Step – 1 Initial Preparation:
Divide the anti-infective products, into three Strategic Business Units (SBU) and select the doctors accordingly, specialty-wise.
SBU system has been adopted by most of the companies and is simply defined as an independent, self-sustaining entity, reporting directly to the headquarters of the organization about the status of its operation. It operates independently and is focused on a target market. Each unit has its own sales staff and management hierarchy.
In some big organizations SBUs have their own support functions such as HR, training department etc. There are several benefits of having an SBU.
This principle works best for organizations which have multiple product structure.
1 – Cephalosporin Group. Surgery, Orthopedics, Gynecology, Urology, Pediatrics, ENT,
Oncology, Pulmonology, Physicians, G.E, Dermatology and G.Ps
2 – Quinolone Group. Surgery, Orthopedics, Urology, Oncology, Physicians, ENT, G.Ps, Pulmonology
3 – Aminoglycoside Group plus Macrolide and Others. Urology, Pulmonology, ENT, G.Ps, Physicians, Pediatrics, Dermatology, Gastroenterology
There are overlapping of the specialties which cannot be avoided, but generally overlapping of the doctors should be avoided.
- All three units are to be given separate geographical territories. In certain cases, over lapping would be unavoidable.
- Each medical representative will have approximately 100 doctors on his visiting list. He should ensure at least three to four calls in a month to each doctor. Exceptions can be there, where days and frequency of the visits are fixed by the doctors.
- Seniors have to work regularly in the field with their teams, specially focusing on weak or low-performing areas.
- Field staff has to be comprehensively trained in their respective product line.
- Field persons are to be trained and honed thoroughly on selling skills, detailing and doctor’s selection techniques.
One ubiquitous factor which remains all-time constant in providing the solid base to any pharmaceutical company is the ‘Prescription Power’ that means a strong demand situation–an ironclad guarantee for posterity.
Role of Clinical Laboratories in Selling Anti-Infectives
- Clinical Laboratory plays a very important role in the sale process of antibiotics. The information that you get from the lab, greatly helps to formulate strategy for a specific doctor, set of doctors, locality or a hospital.
- Relation building and getting information process speeds up if your company offers sensitivity discs to the lab on complementary basis.
- Sales persons have to maintain good relations with the key persons in the lab including technicians. Broadly you will get the following valuable information from there:
- From a particular area or hospital what is the most frequent specimen coming for test.
- Which is the most frequent bacteria being identified.
- While performing sensitivity test what are the most effective drugs in in-vitro situation.
This information can be used to formulate a specific plan for that particular doctor(s) or hospital.
Example: If in the lab you find that the frequent specimen is Urine and the bacteria is E.coli. You know that UTI is the most frequently occurring disease here and as such you can pitch your drug highlighting the efficacy and safety of the drug in UTI with all its features and benefits. Also hit competitive product(s). Therefore, you can make a well-directed plan for that particular area, doctor(s) or hospitals.
Likewise if sputum is the frequent specimen at some place and gram+ is being Identified then you can make out that here RTI is a problem. This enables you to formulate specific strategy and select the product you have for that indication or set of indications, in that particular area or hospital.
to be continued……