Customer relationship management decisive for success of new medicine launches

Lääketeollisuus ry

A successful launch of a new medicinal product is critical for the financial performance of pharmaceutical companies, making it possible for them to continue developing new medicines.

Even the best medicine needs help to reach the patients – the process calls for a mutually beneficial cooperation between physicians and the pharmaceutical company. This is one of the outcomes of a recently published PhD study. 

The doctoral dissertation by Minna Matikainen, M.Sc. of Pharmacy, focuses on the success factors impacting the launch of new medicines in Finland. She has collected a unique material of 109 product launches from Finland-based pharmaceutical companies.

"Minna Matikainen’s dissertation is the first comprehensive study on the pharmaceutical industry's product launches in Finland", Anne Juppo, Professor of Industrial pharmacy of Helsinki University comments on the work.

The most surprising result of the dissertation relates to customer relation management and relationship marketing which are found to be critical factors. If they are not in place, even the greatest medicines will not succeed although there is a need for them in the market.  

"A successful launch of a new medicine includes purposeful relationship marketing measures, taken at various stages of the launch and compatible with the physicians' prescription practices", Minna Matikainen crystallises her study outcomes.

This is vital for the pharmaceutical industry because only one in five medicines with a marketing authorisation will be able to reach the average R&D break-even point before the medicine patent expires.

The research also looked into the relationship between physicians and the pharmaceutical industry which has evolved over the years from a situation focused on personal benefits towards cooperation underlining more ethically sustainable professional development.

"At its best, high-quality collaboration of physicians and the pharmaceutical industry supports the professional development of physicians, promotes patient care and adds to the resources available for the physician", Minna Matikainen adds.

According to Petri Parvinen, Professor of Strategic marketing and management, the results of the dissertation revolutionise the notions and modes of operation in pharmaceutical sales, marketing, launch management as well as regulatory work done by the authorities.

"Until now, local relationship network operations have been seen as a support function.  The dissertation shows that such operations are indispensable in order to have new medicine innovations on the market and to provide patients and society with extensive health benefits brought about by them. In fact, that is what the pharmaceutical industry is all about", Professor Parvinen wraps up.

Minna Matikainen, Master of Pharmacy, has a 15-years-long career in the pharmaceutical industry covering positions in pharmaceutical research and launch project management as well as sales and marketing.  She will defend her dissertation at Helsinki University on 11 December. Her opponent will be Adjunct Professor Paula Rytilä of Helsinki University.

The dissertation is in digital form

Contact address:

Minna Matikainen;; +358 50 4200 513

7. Dec 2015