The oncology space has come a long way in the past five years, so MM&M asked marketing experts – including two from Intouch– to weigh in on where we’ve been and where we’re going. The result is an ebook that discusses recent advancements and gives us a look at what to watch for in the near future. Check out the highlights:

Direct-to-consumer television ads are becoming more common, and the budget for those ads is significantly increasing. In 2015, $163MM was spent on advertising; in 2017, that number jumped to $505MM. Oncology brands like Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo, Merck’s Keytruda, Dendreon’s Provenge, Amgen’s Neulasta and Eli Lilly’s Verzenio have already produced tv ads. Large health systems like MD Anderson Cancer Center are also using television to advertise their services.

Patient engagement is front and center. As patients become ever more empowered with seemingly unlimited access to information about their conditions, and with the additional support of advocacy groups, brands recognize that patients won’t take a backseat or defer solely to their doctors anymore. Pharma marketers have recognized that the patient journey is about more than adherence, which has led to the creation of enhanced patient support programs that go beyond call centers and messaging-based approaches. Marketers also recognize that caregivers are integral to the patient journey and are taking greater pains to address their needs, too.

Getting facetime with oncologists is more challenging than ever; as much as 73% are now labeled as “access restricted.” This means sales reps must cultivate new channels and provide information that’s relevant, timely and science-based. One way to connect, says David Mustalish, M.D., vice president/medical director at Intouch Solutions, is tapping into social media platforms to see who oncologists are talking to.

“Five years ago, we began using a nuanced analytics approach, looking at how these influencers communicate with each other,” says Mustalish. “We are able to map out social connections, and use social metrics to see who the key thought leaders are, not just nationally, but regionally, as well.”

Payers are changing the market access landscape by being more selective about what drugs they list on their formularies. With a focus on value-based outcomes and an increasing array of competitive drugs, “ … oncology management is much closer to mass market cardiovascular and diabetes than it ever was five years ago,” says Peter Weissberg, vice president of market access at Intouch Solutions.

“As complexities increase, payers might look back at this point of time as the golden age of their ability to manage,” says Weissberg.

The role of data keeps expanding. As we have been saying for a while, there’s no shortage of data at our fingertips. But sifting through the massive amounts we collect to get to the key insights is still a challenge. That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) comes into play. AI can bring data to life to inform messaging personalization, uncover the value of real-world evidence like patient behaviors and adherence, and for physicians, act as a support structure as they formulate treatment plans.

What’s on the Horizon for Oncology?

According to the experts MM&M spoke with, the six trends to watch for in the next few years are:

  • electronic health records as “recommendation engines”
  • continued focus on, and support of, caregivers
  • engaging and educating patients to increase clinical trial participation
  • promoting better health outcomes with the help of AI and machine learning
  • incorporating virtual reality into treatment plans
  • further personalization of drugs to meet each patient’s treatment needs

 Get the complete ebook and read more from Intouch’s own experts – and others!