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WHITEPAPER: Why Rx-OTC switch is a viable off-patent strategy

Summary

OTC switch is a viable alternative for many off-patent medicines including some facing the patent expiry in the current financial climate. Launching an OTC product though is a specialized task, and one that will be more effectively implemented by experienced players in sales, marketing, regulatory and other key personnel. Although it is not always possible, planning should be made as far ahead as possible to implement the most integrated and optimized switch launch.

Success factors for an effective OTC switch include:
•Gaining successful approval of critical claims for labeling and promotion
•Developing a healthy brand extension pipeline and effective communication platforms that clearly differentiate the new product for consumers versus existing treatments.
•Developing a robust demand model including all relevant influences
•Working proactively pre-switch with health professional bodies to identify hurdles and achieve a smooth launch
•Being first to OTC market wherever possible
•Use a professional OTC fieldforce that can handle technically sophisticated products and has established relationships they can leverage in pharmacies
•Integrate combined divisional sales and marketing approaches in a cooperative taskforce approach with senior management support

As healthcare costs continue to rise, the opportunity to move Rx status actives into deregulated markets will continue. It remains to be seen whether prescription pharmaceutical companies will be adopting OTC switch more often as one effective approach to extending brand life-cycle rather than accepting sales declines as part of the inevitable fallout from generic competition.

 

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