The Role of Real-World Evidence in Medical Product Distribution

October 28, 2021

The FDA states “Real-world evidence is the clinical evidence regarding the usage and potential benefits or risks of a medical product derived from analysis of RWD.” Medical affairs and clinical research teams are already fast at work exploring ways real-world evidence (RWE) can complement, or even one day replace, costlier, more traditional regulatory approaches. Less commonly explored, however, with potentially greater commercial value, are the channels by which RWE can augment product sales.

Distribution Challenges Susceptible to RWE

Medical product sales can be reduced to two foundational pillars: (1) having a good product and (2) properly communicating the benefits of that product to customers. Most managers across numerous industries agree that the second is generally the more important of these two. Therefore, companies who are struggling in their post-market sales and marketing strategies most likely have a communication problem, not a product problem. These issues can manifest in many ways, including:

  • Speaking the wrong “language” to busy healthcare providers.
  • Speaking through the wrong people, such as detail reps or inexperienced sales staff.
  • Not sharing anything sufficiently new, nor interesting, from competitors.
  • Communicating episodically, or infrequently through unimpactful mediums.
  • Inability to use language which legally, you cannot say.

These language issues generally cause poor ROI, and can drastically increase the time, cost and complexities in reaching your desired market growth. To fix your sales, you must first fix your language.

RWE as Your Ideal Customer Language

Your customers are your best spokespeople. Their routine language is cases, protocols and outcomes, communicated simply and quantitatively. They prefer their information to come from trusted peers, with whom they interact regularly of their own volition, and whose motivations for improved predictable outcomes mirror their own. Finally, although clinical trials remain amongst the strongest sources of clinical evidence, those real-world data which derive from the pragmatic health care practice and their heterogenous patient populations, can be more familiar, realistic and therefore actionable.

Manufacturers and their distributors, confident in the quality of their product(s), should rethink their language, spokespeople and mediums of conversations. By supporting existing customers and KOLs in the generation of RWD and extricating oneself from the focus or delivery of such data, companies can significantly expand the number of conversations around the use, outcomes and manifold benefits of their products. Such conversations will be better received if delivered peer-to-peer, and if using a language which conforms to their quantitative, busy and pragmatic clinical realities.

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