Enhancing Market Intelligence through Social Listening: A Case Study of Asentech's Approach
Our client embarked on a research and insight journey and engaged Asentech to provide a comprehensive social listening study. This was aimed to understand the intricate landscape of biosimilars, with a particular focus on the highly competitive Humira® market. The primary objective was to equip our client with a deep understanding of this rapidly evolving domain by capturing insights from a broad set of commercial stakeholders. These stakeholders encompassed a wide array of voices, including HCPs, patients, patient advocates, advocacy organizations, government agencies, specialty pharmacies, payor groups, and regulatory bodies.
Asentech employed a rigorous methodology designed to uncover nuanced intricacies within the biosimilar arena. Over a six-month retrospective period, spanning from Q4 2022 to Q1 2023, we undertook the task of collecting and manually tagging over 500 posts. This detailed data collection process served as the basis for our qualitative analysis. By leveraging the power of social listening and targeted data analysis, we provided our client with data-driven insights and a panoramic view of the biosimilar landscape, providing the necessary tools for well-informed decision-making.
The biosimilar landscape is characterized by factors such as regulatory intricacies, competitive forces, and diverse stakeholder perspectives. To thrive in this challenging environment, our client recognized that they would need to actively engage with stakeholders and secure a prominent role in shaping these discussions.
They were acutely aware that conversations can change rapidly in this dynamic market. To effectively navigate this environment, it was essential for them to develop a comprehensive understanding of the current sentiments and perspectives. This also included identifying the Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) within these conversations and devising the strategic levers they could potentially use to influence the conversation.
Asentech deployed the platform aimed at the social media used by HCPs. After analysis and categorization of the verbatim posts, our research unveiled a wealth of insights across important stakeholders within the biosimilars market:
- Launch News and Biosimilar Approvals: Our analysis of news and media sources revealed a significant surge in biosimilars, particularly for medications like Humira and Stelara®. We noted that this recent surge in biosimilar approvals specifically pertained to those designated for claims adjudication as pharmacy benefit rather than a medical benefit. Many domain leaders voiced that this shift would intensify competition among vertically integrated insurers, PBMs, specialty pharmacies, and providers vs. vertically integrated regional hospitals, specialty pharmacies and providers.
- Therapeutic Equivalence and Switching: Stakeholders, including HCPs and patients, acknowledged the therapeutic equivalence of biosimilars to reference biologics. However, concerns about mandatory switching persisted. Our research underscored the vital role of pharmacists in bolstering biosimilar utilization, as shown through research, especially in oncology.
- Biosimilar Interchangeability: The perspectives on interchangeability varied among stakeholders. Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) viewed it as a potential differentiator, while physicians held mixed views. Some pharmaceutical companies challenged the interchangeability designation, while government and FDA initiatives aimed to streamline regulations with other agencies, such as the European Medical Administration, to achieve global conformity in this area.
- Pricing and Formulary Coverage: Pricing strategies, as exemplified by Amgen's dual pricing approach for its Humira biosimilar, Amgevita®, attracted considerable attention. Critics raised concerns about incentives favoring PBMs and referencing systemic issues within the healthcare system. Advocacy organizations favored the standardization of plan choices, emphasizing the importance of establishing separate tiers for generics and biosimilars to improve patient access and savings. Payers' formulary decisions proved complex, as they adopted various approaches to include biosimilars on the Prescription Drug List, with ongoing discussions about how to encourage HCPs and patients to embrace biosimilars.
- Biosimilar Cost Savings: The debate regarding the cost-saving potential of biosimilars continued. Some experts emphasized the challenges created by existing rebate mechanisms and patent complexities, while others-maintained optimism about incremental savings. Government initiatives, including for example - Shared Savings Demo Projects, Direct Contracts awarded to biosimilar manufacturers, and interventions in patent disputes, all were designed to promote biosimilar adoption.
In conclusion, our research delivered a comprehensive view of the biosimilar landscape in early 2023. It unveiled both opportunities and challenges driven by a surge in product offerings, evolving pricing strategies, shifts in the regulatory landscape, and complex formulary decisions.
The deliverables from the study were designed to make our client more aware and knowledgeable and to drive pre-planning for outbound communications. This included:
- Informed Decision-Making: The wide-ranging insights gleaned from this study not only equipped our clients to make informed decisions in a rapidly changing and complex market but also helped them prioritize and navigate the diverse landscape of stakeholders.
- Content Roadmap for Engaging with Diverse Stakeholders: One of the valuable outcomes of our study was the creation of a comprehensive content roadmap tailored to engage with diverse stakeholders effectively.
Overall, this social listening study helped our client gain a proprietary competitive advantage. They could know and validate the perspectives and talking points of the various stakeholders across the biosimilar market. This enabled the commercial functional teams to develop their point of view, gather specific supporting documentation, and prepare responses to questions in advance of important meetings. Having this breadth and depth of market insight served as the rationale for many of the market entry, investment, and launch decisions they would choose.