Adjusting launch planning in light of clinical trial delays


The longer-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our industry will take time to truly come to light, but for marketeers whose role it is to plan years in advance to ensure launch excellence, this longer-term view needs to come into focus now, to align internal colleagues and workstreams despite a constantly evolving environment.

Clinical trial delays not only impact the current path forward but potentially (depending on the extent of the delay/disruption) can create hurdles for future regulatory filing, approval and launch. Therefore, as with all functions being affected by the pandemic, adaptability will be critical.

When pivoting your communications and marketing plans, consider:

  • Adjust next steps: Consider necessary shifts to key next steps and the best path forward. Your original plans for market research and customer segmentation may need to adjust to ensure the team is informed with the latest thinking, but in a timely manner aligned with the extent of the delay or shift in timing. For example, research on patient or physician behaviors conducted prior to—or immediately following the worst of—the pandemic may not be as accurate as they might be a few months later, if it is possible to wait to conduct the research then.
  • Align communications: Assess changes to trial status and update your messaging accordingly. Close collaboration with Medical Affairs, Public Affairs, Regulatory and Communications team members will be critical for aligning on accurate updates to communications around your trial, as well as your commitment to this category/pathway/molecule. Holding an issues planning workshop may be the best way to ensure an effective cross-functional approach. For more information on issues preparation, please see Assessing and managing issues around clinical trials: a multi-stakeholder approach.
  • Manage expectations: Communicate regularly with key internal stakeholders to ensure they understand the rationale behind the shift, expected impact and the road ahead. As the status of the trial changes, keeping stakeholders informed will ensure they are ready to shift with you and limit unnecessary surprises. [For more ideas on internal communications best practices, please see Best practices for communicating clinical trial changes and delays.

Have questions or need support adjusting your launch plans due to trial delays? We’re here to help. Contact us today to get started.

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We know there are numerous considerations when it comes to the impact of COVID-19 and what this means for your organization. We are here to help.